While looking for something to make for a potluck dinner picnic, I came upon a salad from the Oh She Glows blog that inspired this combination, but the idea for making the potatoes with Indian spices came from a Sunset magazine recipe that I had been saving for just the right moment. A lovely bonus: the exotic aromas that linger in the kitchen after the salad prep is done.
Indian-spiced potato lentil salad with asparagus
Please don’t be dissuaded from making this salad because of the long list of ingredients. You can get away with just the lentils, potatoes cooked with a few Indian spices, and a tangy dressing. This recipe specifies French lentils because they are firmer and retain their shape better than regular lentils. When the potatoes are cooked with turmeric, they turn a bright yellow, bringing some nice color to this lentil salad. Toss in diced tofu or chunks of feta cheese right before serving if you like. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- extra-virgin olive oil
- black or brown mustard seeds
- cumin seeds
- yellow potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, cut into bite-size pieces
- French green lentils
- ground coriander
- ground cumin
- cayenne or other chile powder
- curry powder
- ground cardamom
- raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- asparagus, ends trimmed and stems cut into 2-in. pieces
- red onion, diced
- cucumber, diced
- coarse ground, hot and sweet, or your favorite mustard
- Dijon mustard
- fresh lemon juice
- fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, and/or dill
- Heat oil and mustard seeds in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, covered, until seeds start to pop. Stir in cumin seeds and turmeric; then stir in potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat to medium low and add a few tbsp. of water. Cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes, adding more water as needed so the potatoes don’t stick to the pan.
- Meanwhile, rinse lentils and place in a medium pot with water (1 part lentils to 1.5 parts water). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer the lentils until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed. Drain and season to taste with salt. Set aside.
- Add a splash of oil to the potatoes with the coriander, ground cumin, cayenne, curry powder, cardamom, and salt to taste. Cook, uncovered, turning occasionally, until potatoes are a bit browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add pumpkin seeds to the pan to toast during the last couple of minutes. Remove pan from heat.
- Meanwhile, steam or roast the asparagus until tender. In a large serving bowl, toss the asparagus, onion, cucumber, and lentils with mustards, lemon juice, and olive oil. Stir in potatoes and pumpkin seeds, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all of the browned bits. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with fresh herbs.