Vegan, Vegetarian

Lentil Salad

Don’t mistake lentils for a grain – they aren’t. As members of the bean family (Fabaceae), lentils have more in common with pintos and limas even though they were first domesticated in the other hemisphere of the globe. Lentils have a long history, possibly dating back to 13,000 years ago when they were first cultivated by Neolithic peoples in the Near East. This could explain the ubiquitousness of the lentil in the cuisines of India, Egypt, and the Mediterranean. Since then, a multitude of varieties have come into existence – brown, green, red, black, and the ‘caviar of lentils’ used in this this recipe, du Puy.

Lentil Salad

Here, the flavor trinity of Lebanon (olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic) complements a classic lentil salad served in many French bistros. This is a quick, satisfying meal that I’m sure will quickly become a staple for you.

1/2 c brown rice
1 c lentilles du Puy
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 lemons, juiced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp capers
1 shallot, minced

salt and fresh pepper
leafy greens, chopped
pita or lentil chips, crushed
Hummus

Combine the brown rice with 1 c water in a heavy pot. Combine the lentils, bay leaf, and garlic in another pot and cover with about 1 inch of water. Bring both pots to a boil, then reduce the temperature to very low. Cover and simmer until tender, gently stirring the lentils now and then.

Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, capers, and shallot in a large glass bowl. When the rice and lentils are done cooking, uncover and allow to cool until still a little warm. Transfer both to the glass bowl and fold gently into the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm, over a bed of chopped greens with a few scoops of hummus and crushed pita chips.

Lentil Salad

The trick to getting this dish right is to not overcook the lentils. They should be just al dente. If you use regular, brown lentils you need to be extra careful because the higher starch content will quickly turn individual beans to mush. Go easy on the water – you can always add more if need be.

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