a refreshing (and filling) lentil salad

I can’t take total credit for this recipe.  A while back, Allison, her roommate, and I took a vegetarian cooking class at The San Francisco Cooking School.  Among other things, we learned how to make this great lentil salad.  My favorite thing about this salad is that it can be tweaked in a million ways.  I’m just going to give the basics and then offer some suggestions for add-ins.  This salad would be great to bring to a potluck or a picnic, and it travels well to work too!  Just pack it with a few lemon wedges to liven it up.

The basic idea of this salad is that it is cooked, room-temperature lentils covered in an herby, garlicky, lemony, “pesto” sort of sauce.  I add a little red wine vinegar to give it an extra tang.  It’s great with small pieces of roasted veggies, cheese, or greek yogurt mixed in.  In the cooking class, we added roasted carrots, but boyfriend and I prefer brussels sprouts.

This salad is surprisingly filling and pretty healthy! Enjoy!

Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

  • Dry green lentils.  I don’t know how much. 2 cups?  It depends on how much you want leftover.  Lentils freeze well after they cook, so if you make too much, no big deal.
  • Several big handfuls of arugula
  • 1 bunch of some herb – I usually use cilantro but basil works well too.
  • 2 cloves raw, fresh garlic
  • The juice of two lemons
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Optional extras: roasted veggies, fresh tomatoes, feta or Parmesan cheese, greek yogurt, raw red onion

Instructions:

  • Cook the lentils.  Basically, boil them in salted water until they are soft but not mushy.  Drain them and let them cool.
  • Meanwhile, get out the food processor.   Stuff it with arugula, herbs, garlic, and a little more olive oil than you think.  Probably a few tablespoons.  Blend it until it forms a loose paste – it should be flowy.  Squeeze in lemon juice and taste.  This recipe doesn’t need much salt, but feel free to add some salt and pepper at this point.
  • Prep any add-ins.  I like to roast some brussels sprouts with lots of salt and olive oil at about 400 degrees until they are crispy.
  • Once the lentils are room temperature, pour in the dressing.  There should be a lot of dressing.  Taste the salad, and if it is a little bland, add some red wine vinegar.  Only add a little bit at a time though, it is easy to go overboard here.
  • Mix in your add-ins and whatnot.  Serve with maybe some greek yogurt and white wine.
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