FRENCH GREEN LENTIL SALAD

Aren't they purdy?

Aren't they purdy?

I spotted these gorgeous lentils at a little local cafe and knew they needed to be made into this salad!

I've been making this recipe for a few winters now. Although it could definitely be made in the summer, something about it feels like a fall/winter salad. Warm, rich, and totally satisfying.

This is one of those recipes that will impress everyone when served. It feels like you're eating lunch in a French cafe. And if you aren't avoiding gluten, it would be perfect served with a slice of sourdough. Or throw in some rotisserie chicken for a little heartier meal.  P.S. I'm always surprised how quickly this comes together - fancy can be still be fast!

INGREDIENTS

Lentils:

  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 sprigs thyme 
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 rib celery, finely diced 

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, or avocado oil
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Arugula

DIRECTIONS

1. Rinse the lentils and put them in a saucepan with plenty of lightly salted water, the bay leaf, and the thyme. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the finely diced vegetables and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the lentils are tender; avoiding overcooking them. *If you are serving a smaller group, or not planning on large amounts of leftovers, the number of lentils used could be halved (3/4 cups). 

Find the best pans ever right here

Find the best pans ever right here

2. While the lentils are cooking, make the dressing. Mix the vinegar, salt, mustard, oil, and shallot in a small bowl. 

3. Drain the lentils well and mix them into the dressing while still warm, stirring to coat the lentils. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Look at all that glorious goat cheese

Look at all that glorious goat cheese

4. Add a few grinds of pepper and mix in the parsley, nuts, and goat cheese. Taste, and add additional salt, if desired. Serve the salad at room temperature or warm, over a bed of arugula (the best kind of bed). The salad can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Let it come to room temperature before serving; it may need to be reseasoned after having been refrigerated. Some leftover rotisserie chicken can be added to make it a little more filling!

Slightly adapted recipe from The Splendid Table, from the book My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz . 

 

Katie Buchanan