Friday Recipe: Lentil Salad

January 13, 2012

Lentils 
Do you ever get a craving for lentils? I do. I think it is because of how satisfying they are. They are a perfect stand-in for days when I feel like sticking to a veggie-only diet, but still want a filling and delicious meal.

Lentils are a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine and are often served over rice. They are especially great for vegetarian eaters. The tiny pods pack a huge protein punch, with 26 grams per 3 ounces, along with high levels of fiber, folate and iron. They are also a very heart-healthy legume.They are a versatile ingredient and can be used in soups and salads or serve as a stand-alone meal. They come in green, red and brown and I like to mix them up when I cook them.

One of my favorite ways to eat lentils is in this lentil salad recipe.  It’s a recipe I threw together on a whim with the leftover veggies I had in the fridge, and it turned out to be pretty tasty. It’s a dish that can be eaten as the main course or served with fish or chicken as a side. The dressing I used comes from my favorite beet salad recipe, and I use this dressing on so many things because it complements so many different flavors, including this lentil salad. If you think about soaking the lentils overnight they will cook faster when you’re ready to make this recipe, but it’s not necessary.

Lentil Salad Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tomato, cleaned and diced
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tablespoon Herbes de Provence
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Zest of half an orange
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and add carrots, celery, Herbes de Provence and bay leaf. Cook 5-8 minutes until slightly tender.
  2. Add lentils and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook 20-25 minutes until lentils are tender. This is a salad so you don’t want the lentils to be too soft, just cooked through.
  3. Drain cooked lentils and veggies and remove the bay leaf.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and allow to cool.
  5. Once the lentils have cooled, add diced tomatoes and feta cheese and pour dressing over the top.
  6. Serve alone or over chicken or fish and enjoy!