Wednesday, March 22, 2017

French Lentil Salad

I have always been a fan of lentils and I wish I had realized years ago how easy they are to cook and prepare.  I love all types of lentils but my favorite are the french green variety.  This salad is very hearty but also light (if that is possible).  I could eat this for lunch every day and never get bored of it. All the vegetables and herbs can be changed to whatever suits your palate.  I hope you make this and enjoy it as much as I do.

French Green Lentil Salad

1 large onion peeled and cut into quarters
2 bay leaves
1 ½ cups French green lentils, rinsed under cold water
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seed (plus extra for garnish)
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 radishes, trimmed & sliced thin
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced fennel
½ cup each of chopped basil, Italian parsley, and cilantro
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Place lentils, onion, and bay leaves in saucepan.  Fill with water to cover by an inch.  Bring to boil and turn down to simmer and cover pan with lid slightly askew for about 15 minutes. Check lentils after about 12 minutes - I like them to have a little bit of chew.  Try not to overcook because the lentils will be mushy (still delicious but my preference is for lentils to remain intact and not mushy).  Remove pan from stove, use tongs to remove onion quarters and bay leaves.  Drain water, if any is left, and place lentils in a bowl.  Pour vinegar over lentils and mix using a spoon.  Heat oil to just shimmering and add fennel seed - let cook for a couple of minutes.  (You can skip this step but heating the fennel seed in the oil just releases a little more flavor from the seeds.)  Pour oil and fennel seed over lentils and mix using a spoon.  Add chopped vegetables, herbs, and salt & pepper to taste.  Mix salad using a spoon and taste - add more salt and pepper if desired and sprinkle generously with fennel.
(In the pictures below you will see that I used my frozen basil  for a good punch of flavor.)