So, there are your everyday fruits and there are your occasion fruits. Think apples, oranges, grapes, bananas - they're the everyday ones for me ... the packed lunch regulars, the fruit bowl fillers, the ones that have a firm, established place in the weekly shop. Then there are our 'occasion' friends - the jewels of the fruit world, the bling, the dazzlers, the special treats ... think raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, mangos and let's not forget cherries.
For me, cherries are the special treats of all fruity treats. They are so, so good looking and with their built-in handles, they are perfect for picking, one by one from an unsuspecting bowl. For our #2 teenage son, this is the definition of perfection and better than a bag of sweets any day.
But despite loving a cherry, I have to admit that I rarely do anything with them other than enjoying them 'au naturel'. It's two things. Firstly like most of the 'occasion' fruits, for 98% of the year, they are pricey and when they're pricey, I don't buy them very often and avoid messing around with them too much when I do. And the second reason, is that I am, to be honest, put off by having to remove those pits. I'm sure there's some handy little device for this but I wouldn't use it enough to justify it.
And then I spotted this beautiful Cherry, Goat's Cheese and Lentil Salad - and all of a sudden I had moved into the world of cherries in salads. And what a world ... It showcases the cherries along with some pretty lentils, a scattering of creamy goat's cheese and a few crunchy walnuts. And the cherry on the top? (did you see what I did there?!) ...blitzing a few of the cherries in with some olive oil and a bit of wine vinegar to make the most sublime cherry vinaigrette. GOR-geous.
And here's why this Cherry, Goat's Cheese and Lentil Salad could be the cherry on the top for you
- This is a super easy salad. No skill required here. The dullest part is pitting the cherries for sure, but actually, it was pretty quick when I found a sharp knife and my rhythm. Be wary of falling into the 'pit a cherry, eat a cherry' trap. Easily done. Very easily done.
- And to make it even easier, I've opted for pre-cooked lentils. You're welcome.
- This tastes SO good. The sweetness of the cherry vinaigrette, the creaminess of the goat's cheese and that hint of basil. A dish delish.
- It makes a few cherries go a long way, so good for your bank balance too.
- Lots of yummy, healthy ingredients and it'll stave off those hunger pangs for ages. That's the power of the lentil.
- It's seriously pretty.
- I can vouch for the fact that it is lovely the next day for a leftovers lunch.
- Serve this to guests from a big, white platter and it'll be big-time impressive.
- Or serve it as part of a spread of other salads - perhaps this 'Everywhere' French Carrot Salad and a Roasted Tomato Salad.
- Take it to a friend's house when you've been asked to bring a salad and you'll be the talk of the town.
So, the next time you buy yourself a bag of cherries, think beyond just devouring them in the car on the way home and try out this winning salad. On second thoughts buy 2 bags.
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