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Broccoli leaf, Pear and Lentil Salad

My first time vegetable gardening was a summer of much learning.  Plenty of misses, but a few surprises too!  The growing season is now over ... or so I thought.  Just when it seemed the broccoli didn't work out, it is now displaying huge plants with very impressive leaves; in November!  We have been nibbling away at the broccoli heads as they come in, but I just had to try those leaves as well.  It turns out, they taste great!  How very underrated they are.  A quick sauté, and not tough at all.  Just right, actually.  Better, I dare say, than the ever so popular kale.  Yes, it's true.  It's not quite as bitter as kale.  Why this isn't all over the supermarket shelves, I don't know.  But, certainly use them if you grow them!!! 

 broccoli leaf, pear and lentil salad

Having said that, you can of course, use any dark green of your liking in this dish too.  It is a quick one to whip up, very seasonal and oh so healthy! 

(serves 1)
1/3 cup lentils
1 sprig of fresh Rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 dried chili pepper
3 broccoli leaves, roughly chopped
4-5 broccoli florets
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 pear thinly sliced
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
salt & pepper to taste

1. Start with boiling the lentils.  It's always good to throw in some flavor.  Here, I used rosemary, bay leaves and a dried chili.  
2.  Whilst the lentils are boiling, make the dressing.  I used fresh lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt & pepper.  It was perfect for this dish!  

5.  Drain the lentils when they are not too firm to the bite.  (Every lentil is different.  So, I find this a better technique than relying on a specific time.  They take roughly 20 minutes, in most cases).  
6. Sautee the broccoli leaves, florets and garlic in olive oil for just 2-3 minutes.  
7. Place the garlicky greens in a bowl.  Top with the lentils, tomatoes and pears.  
8.  Drizzle the dressing on top; and there you have a very tasty and healthy lunch or dinner.

My big take-away from this dish, was to think outside the box when it comes to food.  Don't be afraid to use the unconventional.  It can pay off nicely!

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