Summer in Canada is sweet and too brief, so we try to pack in as much as possible around here. There was a cottage trip; a Vermont beer and camping stop; a curbside bagel eating moment at midnight in front of St-Viateur Bagel in Montreal, followed by the best Scandinavian-style brunch at Larry’s; a dinner on the street with hundreds of others at the longest table I’ve ever seen; a coffee run to Buffalo; a wedding; The National concert; I became a homeowner (and my boyfriend and I moved in together); there was a neighbourhood cheese and beer party; many, many SoBi rides around Hamilton; dinners outside; friend gatherings and so much more. Thankfully, summer isn’t over quite yet.
Because we’ve been such busy, social butterflies (with full-time jobs, I assure you), this has left little time to make food in the moment, instead relying on wholesome make-ahead salads with a base of beans, lentils and grains. They’re portable treats we can enjoy on their own, as a side dish, spooned out of the container for a quick snack or tossed with pasta for something a little heartier. This succotash, which was labelled, “The Salad of a Thousand Lives,” kept us fed for 4 days, making its way into every meal we ate.
Succotash is what I would classify as a “spoon salad” recipe as I prefer to eat it with a spoon rather than a fork for reasons unbeknownst to me. Must be a comfort thing?
To this succotash recipe, I replaced the traditional lima beans with brown lentils, added fresh local blueberries and spiked it with zippy Mexican flavours of chili, cumin, cilantro and sweet onion. Succotash makes the perfect side dish, vegetarian main course, packable picnic dish, brunch topped with a fried egg and mound of tender avocado, appetizer adorning crusty bread…you name it, this salad has your back.
Seasonal, fresh and light, it’s a protein-rich alternative to heavy pasta and potato salads at a BBQ – just be sure to invite the entire ‘hood, because like I said, this succotash (or what we’ve called, “The Salad of a Thousand Lives”) feeds a crowd.
- ⅔ cup dry brown lentils
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 ears corn (2 cups), shucked and kernels cut off
- ½ sweet or red onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 red chili, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lime juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a medium saucepan, cover lentils with 4 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. Drain and add to a large bowl with remaining ingredients; mix to combine. Store airtight in refrigerator up to 5 days or serve immediately.