Lentil and Green Kishk Salad with Lemon Leaf Dressing


Are you fed up with the cold rainy weather like I am? The gloomy skies and drenched jackets and the hassle of umbrellas. It ain’t no fun singing in the rain!

Fortunately the storm has passed and it is sunny these few days. Although I’m not going out as much as I’d like to, but I’m getting my share of sunshine here and there.

Last year, I bought a handmade clay plate from Bkerzay and I’ve wanted to show it off by having few ingredients on it. But as I’m not really into making fine dining plates yet, I show it off with this salad from what I have at home.

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Lentils are one of the grains we have here but it really annoys me that we only use it in classical and sometimes boring ways. They are a staple in our middle eastern cabinets and I always liked to play around and use them in fresh dishes.

We have an ingredient in the Lebanese mountain pantry called Kishk. It is a type of fermented milk product made from a mixture of yogurt and burghul (bulgar) that’s left to dry and ferment in the sun before being ground into a powder. Another version of it is the “Green Kishk” which is burghul and yogurt rolled into balls and preserved in oil. Both methods are ways of preserving the abundance of crop people had before refrigeration was a thing. Against all the expectations, they made fridges happen but that didn’t stop people from making kishk. It is even gaining popularity again. We won’t stop making Kishk happen.

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I used this green kishk in my salad because… honestly I had a jar just standing there on the counter begging to be used. I used with it whatever veggies and herbs I had on hand.

For the dressing, I got the idea of using lemon leaf after I found a small lemon tree growing in one of the pots in front of my house. The mint and basil are also from the small pot of greens I’m growing.

Do you usually use grains in your salads? Which one and how do you use them?

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Tiny-Lentil Labneh balls Kishk salad-3108

Lentil and Green Kishk Salad with Lemon Leaf Dressing

Serves 2-3 persons

Ingredients

  • 2 cup cooked lentils (1 cup dried lentils, cooked)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, or 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers, or wild cucumbers (me’te)
  • Mint and/or basil, cut into ribbons
  • 8-10 Preserved Labneh balls in oil, or Kishk Akhdar balls in oil

Dressing

  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice and zest from 2 lemon
  • Lemon leaf (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Procedure

  • Chop the tomatoes if using whole ones, or quarter the cherry tomatoes and mix with the diced cucumbers and lentils
  • Make the dressing by smashing the garlic clove and lemon leaf with salt in a mortar. Add a tablespoon of the oil and smash again until it becomes creamy in consistency. Pour in the rest of the oil and use the pestle to mix it then add the lemon juice and remove the remains of the lemon leaf and crack some black pepper in
  • Drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix
  • Divide into plate and top with mint or basil ribbons and lemon zest
  • Arrange the labneh or kishk balls on top and serve

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