Lentil salad with cherries, fennel and goat’s cheese recipe

Lentil salad with cherries, fennel and goat's cheese
A vibrant dish packed with plant-based protein - Haarala Hamilton

Californian salads make good use of fruit, as they have it in such abundance. This is from my own head but I like to think it’s a salad that you might find there.


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20-30 minutes




  • 100g bulgar wheat

  • 150ml vegetable or chicken stock, or water

  • 100g black lentils, if you can find them, or Puy lentils

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 large fennel bulb

  • 15g mint

  • 200g cherries, pitted

  • 150g soft goat’s cheese, broken into chunks

For the dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated

  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼ tsp sumac


  1. Put the bulgar wheat in a heatproof bowl. Heat the stock or water to boiling and pour this over the bulgar. Cover with a plate and leave for 20-30 minutes. The wheat will absorb the liquid. Fork the grains to make them fluffy.

  2. At the same time, cook the lentils. Put them in a saucepan, add boiling water – it doesn’t matter how much – and cook until the lentils are tender (don’t let them overcook). The older the lentils, the longer they will take to cook. I always check after 20 minutes.

  3. Drain the lentils and run cold water through them. Toss the bulgar and the lentils together, and set aside.

  4. Make the dressing by whisking the ingredients together with a fork. Taste to see whether you have enough sumac – it should taste slightly sharp and lemony.

  5. Put the lemon juice in a bowl. Trim the tops of the fennel bulb then quarter it, pulling off any fronds you find (reserve them). Remove the coarse outer layer on each quarter and discard it. Trim the base. Using a very sharp knife, or a mandolin, cut the fennel into wafer-thin slices, adding it to the bowl with the lemon juice as you go (toss the fennel in the lemon juice with your hands). The lemon juice stops the fennel discolouring.

  6. Choose a broad, shallow bowl or platter for this – you want the salad to be spread out. Mix the fennel – including the lemon juice – with the bulgar and lentils, any fronds you pulled off the fennel, the mint leaves and three quarters of the dressing. Season well and put on the serving plate. Scatter the cherries and goat’s cheese on top and drizzle on the rest of the dressing. Serve immediately.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.