janet @ the taste space

Blueberry, Lentil and Walnut Spinach Salad with a Blueberry Tarragon Dressing

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on August 24, 2012 at 5:53 AM

Rob and I like to name rename things. People. Animals. You name it, and we’ll rename it.

The previous tenant in the basement had a cat. A big, fluffy black cat that would watch us whenever we were in the backyard. It took us a while to figure out his name. By that time we had christened him with a new name: Muffin.

A dog followed us for a few days while on our jungle trek in Colombia. Rob named him Danger Dog.

After our recent Colombian adventures, our new home also has been christened with a Spanish name: Casa Tarragona.

Thankfully a late summer purchase was a new tarragon plant.

I first tried tarragon last year and since discovered it is an easy-to-grow perennial. Tarragon has a subtle anise flavour that I like, even though I don’t like licorice. Here, I pair it with blueberries in a delicious dressing sweetened by dates. Coconut-sauteed onions make this a luscious dressing with a hint of citrus from the lemon.

Wanting a hearty main-course salad, I paired it with French du Puy lentils and spinach. Toasted walnuts add a satisfactory crunch and fresh blueberries provide bursts of sweetness.

Definitely one of my favourite salads, to date, I feel like this is definitely the summer of salads!

What are your favourite ways to use tarragon?

This is my submission to this month’s Herbs on Saturdays, to this month’s Bookmarked Recipes, and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Blueberry, Lentil and Walnut Spinach Salad with a Blueberry Tarragon Dressing
Adapted from Yum Universe

1 cup French du Puy lentils, rinsed
3 cups vegetable broth or water
2 bay leaves

6 cups spinach, roughly chopped (baby spinach would work, too! or your favourite green)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup blueberries

1 tsp coconut oil (or oil of choice)
2/3 cup chopped onion (1 small onion)
1 cup blueberries (thawed if frozen)
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
2-3 Medjool dates (add to taste, depending on the sweetness of your berries)
2 tbsp fresh tarragon
zest from half a lemon (1/4 tsp)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup water, or to reach desired consistency

1. Put the lentils, broth/water and bay leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but not falling apart. Drain in a sieve. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, prepare your dressing. In a small nonstick pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until lightly brown and translucent, around 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, toast your walnuts and chop your greens.

4. Once the onion has cooled slightly, combine it with the remainder of the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

5. For salad, mix together the cooked lentils and spinach, top with blueberries and walnuts and drizzle with the blueberry tarragon dressing. Keep components separate until serving. Dressing can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Shake before serving.

Serves 4.

  1. “Danger Dog” in Spanish is “El Perro Peligro”

  2. What a gorgeous salad—thank you for trying the dressing recipe!

  3. I love renaming things too… mostly because I have a terrible memory. Everyone has a nickname. LOL!

    Lentil with fruit and nuts is such an fabulous combo. Adding this to the protein-filled foods to make. 🙂

  4. What an original salad! Thanks so much for posting it.

  5. OMG, we have totally renamed all the neighborhood cats too! And they’re all named after food…I wonder what could possibly be on my mind at all times? 🙂 I love the blueberry-walnut combination in salad! So much better than blueberries or walnuts (or both) in sweet baked things.

  6. I think the name Muffin is possibly one of the cutest names for an animal ever. I have to remember that on.

    Love blueberry and walnuts together! I really enjoy tarragon as well even though I hate licorice. I always forget about it though, so I rarely use it!

  7. I love tarragon but hate licorice also! Im pretty sure I’d adore it in the dressing. This salad has so much flavor going on!

  8. I love this salad – the colours and textures just sound wonderful -except that I am not familiar with tarragon – one of my favourite places for names for herbs is a kids tv series called the herbs – you can see a clip of tarragon the dragon here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiQ71gbVJlM

  9. A purple dressing – amazing! And the flavour of the walnuts must be a perfect fit. An easy yet exquisit salad, I am bookmarking this for the next dinner-invitation as a bring a long.

  10. A FUN and VERY tasty entry into Herbs on Saturday, thanks so much for your entertaining tale and this amazing salad too! Karen

  11. […] I LOVE this salad – Blueberry, Lentil and Walnut Spinach Salad with a Blueberry Tarragon Dressing – another LOVELY recipe from the taste space – steam, bake, boil, shake! The recipe uses […]

  12. That sounds delicious Janet. And……. the renaming things is something that Graham & I do too 🙂

  13. […] Blueberry, Lentil and Walnut Spinach Salad with a Blueberry Tarragon Dressing […]

  14. […] Crosby’s fabulous recipes (seen here previously: Peruvian Bean Bowl with Fried Plantains, Blueberry Tarragon Dressing and more recently the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream), I was excited to be able to review her first […]

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