2006: As happens on the first day the air conditioning gets turned on, it was just too hot to cook. So I scrapped the suddenly wintry-sounding supper plan and turned instead to a summery lentil salad. The inspiring recipe is one I've had my eye on during a three-year love affair with French Food at Home by Laura Calder, a seasonal, accessible and adaptable cookbook.
My version of Summer Lentils is both lightened and "vegged up" — I just kept chopping vegetables until the lentils were done! With lots of crunch and flavor, it makes for a satisfying meatless entree. But it makes a good side salad, too - at home but also at potlucks and outdoor celebrations since it has no mayonnaise. Better yet, it's definitely a 'concept recipe' — use the vegetables you happen to have on hand.
2009: Turns out, this is one of a handful of recipes that I make again and again, it's a great way whole-grain salad, a combination of meaty lentils and chopped vegetables. Tis a winner!
Time to table: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Makes 6 cups
1 cup 'meaty' lentils such as French green lentils (lentilles du Puy) or black lentils (see Kitchen Notes)
1 1/2 cups unsalted water
4 tablespoons good vinegar, balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons good mustard such as Dijon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Generous salt & pepper
2 shallots, minced (or chopped onion or chopped green onion)
2 carrots, diced (or grated for less crunch, my preference)
1 bell pepper, diced (try yellow or green for color contrast)
8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
3 ribs celery, diced
8 ounces radishes, sliced thin and quartered
2 ounces drained capers
Chopped chive or fresh basil or fresh dill
4 ounces crumbled feta, optional but especially good if using as an entree
LENTILS Rinse the lentils. Place lentils and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer til cooked. Drain if needed and return to the hot pan.
DRESSING Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Stir into the hot lentils.
VEGGIES Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and collect in a large bowl. Stir in the lentils and cool to room temperature for an hour or so. Just before serving, stir in the feta.
This recipe was originally published in 2006 and is republished in 2009 with new photos and notes. When first published, the recipe won first prize in a lentil recipe contest from a blog called Something in Season that sadly no longer exists. When I remade the salad for a Memorial Day picnic, I fell in love with the salad all over again, it's a real winner.
I love the meaty black lentils from Trader Joe's, they're less expensive than the French lentils. UPDATE: A reader reported being unable to find black lentils at Trader Joe's. When I checked, no luck here in St. Louis either. The store manager said that black lentils are shown as a "future" item - this may mean that they're seasonal, only sold in the winter. If so, stock up!
Organic puy de lentilles are selling in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods right now for $3 a pound.
I've never used the softer brown lentils or red lentils in this salad, they would work fine but the texture would be different.
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~ more recipes with beans, lentils & other legumes ~
from A Veggie Venture
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from Kitchen Parade