Lentil Salad

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This salad is adapted from the French Lentil Salad in David Lebowitz’s My Paris Kitchen. I like the salad as is from his book, but I also like to change it up a bit. I love just making a large batch of these lentils, draining the liquid and storing that separately (it makes the best veggie broth to add to soup), and then just throwing these lentils into whatever during the week. You can make this salad quickly with the lentils already made or you can throw them into your pasta sauce or mix them with some yogurt and greens and eat on toast (a riff on an Ottolenghi recipe) or you can just eat them plain. They keep so well and are my new go-to thing to make on Sundays to have on hand for the week.

The snow around here has FINALLY melted and we even had a few nice days recently. It was over 60 F on Saturday and we went for a lovely little hike in Umstead park with family. Days like that remind me why I love living in the south. The snow two weeks ago made me question why on earth we live in this place if we still have snow. Now that the snow is gone though I am happier and complaining less.

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I was lazy and didn’t take Roshi sledding. We did go for a walk in the snow when it was only 1/2 way melted. So that’s something. Roshan loved seeing the snow, but he was not into touching the snow. And honestly who can blame him. That shit is cold.

Last week we went to the Marbles Museum with my sister Victoria and her daughter Leona. It was cute to watch the cousins play and explore. I love that the museum has so many little kid activities. There were a lot of things that Roshi could do there even at 9 months. Roshi spent the first 30 minutes crying and wanting to sit in my lap with his thumb in his mouth. But slowly he became interested and wanted to play with the other kids and all of the toys. It’s crazy how entertaining it can be to watch your own kid do teeny tiny things that you find adorable and other people are like “so what that your kid hugged a giant seal stuffed animal.”

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Notes on the salad:

  • make the lentils in advance if you can because then it is so fast and easy to throw this together
  • use any fresh cheese you like and have on hand
  • I prefer beluga lentils in this but I always have a hard time finding these and they are pricey. You can use French green lentils as well.
  • add any other vegetable to this…I made this with some big mushroom pieces I sauteed in EVOO and it was fantastic.
  • lately i prefer to chop my greens all of the time. I feel like the salad is easier to eat and it is easier to get that perfect bite.
  • the original salad did not have any greens or tomatoes, so if you don’t have these on hand, skip them.
  • save the broth from making the lentils and use it in a soup. it is so flavorful. it freezes well if you don’t have an immediate use for it.

Lentil Salad

Serves 2 as an entree or 4 as a said salad

Ingredients:

For the Lentils:

  • 1 cup of green/French lentils or beluga lentils (when I want to make a lot to keep on hand, I make 1.5-2 cups instead and increase the other vegetables/seasonings accordingly)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into tiny pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped into tiny pieces
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the Salad:

  • Greens of your choice (I normally use 50/50 blend), chopped
  • Fresh herbs like mint, cilantro, basil (optional…if you have it on hand and have the energy, throw them in)
  • 8-10 walnuts, chopped
  • feta or goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • 1 small tomato, chopped finely

For the Dressing:

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse the lentils. Place them in a pot with 3.5-4 cups water. Add the salt, pepper, onion, and thyme. Bring the lentils to a boil and then cover and reduce to a low boil/simmer.
  2. After about 7 or 8 minutes, add the carrot and celery. Cover and keep cooking for another 8-10 minutes, until lentils are soft and cooked through but still holding their shape. You may need to add more water during the cooking process. The lentils should stay covered in water the whole time.
  3. Drain the lentils and reserve the cooking liquid to be used for another dish.
  4. Allow the lentils to cool. If you are making the lentils ahead, put in a container and store in the fridge until you are ready to use.
  5. When you are ready to eat/serve the salad, assemble in a bowl the greens, nuts, cheese, and tomato. Scoop about 1/2 cup cooked lentils onto the greens.
  6. Make the dressing by whisking mustard, vinegar and honey together in a bowl. Slowly add the EVOO and continue whisking until it is completely incorporated.
  7. Drizzle the desired amount of dressing over the salad (less is more).
  8. Top the salad with fresh cracked pepper. Stir to combine ingredients.
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