No longer the “the poor man’s meat”, lentils are amazingly well loved in Mediterranean cuisine. Not only are they lentils, they are wonderfully versatile. They can be used just as well in salads or soups and can be easily be marinated overnight and used the next day only to have their flavors richen.
Lentils cook quickly. Cooking about 20 to 25 minutes will give you the perfect firm, but tender, lentil for salads. This marinated lentil salad is a great make in advance meal and makes for great leftovers the next day. I like to use Le Puy green lentils as they are superior in texture (as they maintain a firmer texture after cooking) and taste.
Marinated Lentil Salad
Preparation time: 35 minutes + 3 hours to marinade
For the lentils:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 small yellow onions, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 cups of vegetable broth (480 ml)
2 cups of water (480 ml)
1 cup of French puy lentils (250 g)
2 sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar
1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid (60 ml)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
For the salad:
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 handfuls postelein (miner’s lettuce) or mesclun baby greens (or other mild salad leaves, such as butter lettuce)
serve with a wedge of lemon
1. In a large saucepan, add one tablespoon of oil and over medium-heat sauté the onion and carrot, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the broth, water, lentils, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, partially covered for 25-30 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Discard the parsley spring and bay leaf.
3. In a small bowl combine vinaigrette ingredients. Add to lentils.
4. Allow to marinade for 3 hours, stirring occasionally to help meld the flavors.
5. Prior to serving stir in the chopped parsley and serve over a bed of your favorite salad greens.