lentil salad

This afternoon, the sun is shining and the snow is finally melting.  My mom is coming to visit tomorrow and I’ve decided to make the stuffed mushrooms for her that I posted about a few weeks ago.  I’m thinking they would be great with a lentil salad.

Lentils are such an awesome pulse or legume.  Inexpensive, hearty and healthy, they taste wonderfully earthy and they are so versatile!  I know many associate them with hearty soups for the cold seasons (which are wonderful, don’t get me wrong).  But there is so much more you can do with lentils!  And you don’t even have to soak them, although I do when I use them in salads.  Soaking is not obligatory, but it cuts the cooking time down to about 5 minutes for the Dupuis lentils I use here.  They also stay much firmer, which is a desirable quality for lentils in a salad.  

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Here is what I came up with.

Serves 6 as a side

  • 1 cup dried Dupuis lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup lightly packed parsley
  • salt and pepper

Soak the lentils for 4 hours prior to cooking them.  Then cook them in boiling water with the bay leaf and a pinch of salt for 5 minutes.  Drain, then rinse under cold water and spread them on a tea towel to let them dry a little.  Slice your red pepper, fennel and red onion.  I use a mandolin for this, but don’t go out and buy one if you don’t have one already.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss.  This salad definitely gains flavor if made in advance and can even be made a day ahead.  Just add the parsley shortly before serving.

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