“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” ~C.S. Lewis

Peach and Cashew Biryani Salad


  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 medium summer squash, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup dried peach rings, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried papaya
  • 4 cups cooked basmati rice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup crispy fried onions or fried shallots, for garnish


  • Combine lentils, 3 cups water, bay leaf, and 1 tablespoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until lentils are tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain and cool.
  • Meanwhile, preheat grill to high (450°F to 550°F). Toss together squash, red onion, curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large bowl. Place squash and onion on grates; grill, uncovered, turning often, until charred and crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut vegetables into bite-size pieces; set aside.
  • Heat 1/4 cup coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-low. Add cashews, and cook, shaking skillet, until sizzling, 7 to 8 minutes. Add peaches, apricots, and papaya, and cook until fruit is puffy and cashews are golden, about 8 minutes. Drain mixture on paper towels, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Place rice in a large bowl, and use your hands to break up any clumps. Drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil; season with 1 teaspoon salt. Toss to combine. Gently fold in cooked lentils, squash, red onion, cashews, fruit, and lemon juice; season with pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Fold in cilantro and scallions; garnish with fried onions before serving.

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