Meera Sodha’s vegan fennel, carrot and mung bean salad recipe | Life and style

This column has never featured a single mung bean – until today. This long-bullied bean has much to give if you let it into your kitchen. Cooked quickly, it becomes a nutty addition to a salad; cooked slowly, and you’ll find yourself with a creamy dal; soak it, and it will magically sprout, like Jack’s beanstalk. In today’s recipe, it plays backing vocals to caramelised fennel and carrot, so it’s a quiet introduction to this wonderful bean, your love for which, I hope, might germinate over the following year.

Caramelised fennel and carrot salad with mung beans and herbs

The dressing for this first course or light lunch is a salsa verde, a piquant herb and citrus sauce that works well with the sweet caramelised vegetables.

Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 4

2 large carrots (400g), peeled and cut into thin batons
2 fennel bulbs (500g), thinly sliced and fronds reserved
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Olive oil
Salt
1 tsp chilli flakes
125g mung beans
125g giant couscous

For the dressing
10g dill leaves
30g parsley leaves
10g fresh mint leaves
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6 and line two baking trays with foil.

Lay the carrots, fennel and garlic cloves in a single layer across the two trays. Mix four tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and the chilli flakes in a small bowl, spoon over the vegetables, then toss with your hands to make sure everything is well coated. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing the vegetables halfway through to ensure they cook evenly.

In the meantime, put the mung beans in a pan, cover with plenty of cold water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the couscous to the pot, turn up the heat and boil for six to eight minutes, until tender, then drain.

To make the dressing, finely chop the herbs and fennel tops, put in a bowl and add the chopped flesh of the roast garlic, the lemon juice, capers, mustard and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Add enough olive oil to make a dressing (roughly three to five tablespoons), mix very well, then taste and adjust as you see fit.

To assemble the salad, spoon the mung beans and couscous on to a serving plate, lay the vegetables on top, then mix in the green herb dressing to taste and serve.

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