Warm French Lentil Salad

I’ve been craving lentils lately, which is extremely random. It all started with a purchase of prepared lentil soup from Trader Joe’s. I typically avoid prepared soups because of their horrible sodium content, but I had read some good things about this soup and decided to give it a go. It was de.lic.ious. And so good for you! Just that same week I saw a re-run of Barefoot Contessa making a warm lentil salad. I knew I was on it. Well, like two weeks later I was on it. And despite questions from the peanut gallery/brian, which included “what IS a lentil, anyway?” and “what the heck is in that pot?”, the dish was enjoyed by all. And, after reviewing some of the humble lentil’s fantastic nutritional info, we might just be making these on a regular basis.

Warm French Lentil Salad
Just the Tip / Inspired by Ina Garten
Serves 4-6

What I used:

  • 2 tsp plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I buy these pre-cleaned at TJ’s)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and and 1/2-inch-diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup french green lentils
  • 1 whole onion, peeled and stuck with 6 whole cloves
  • 1 white turnip, cut in half
  • 1 heaping tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

What I did:

  1. Place the lentils, 4 cups of water, the clove-studded onion, and the turnip in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the lentils are boiling, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are almost tender.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the carrots and leek in 2 tsp of olive oil over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes until the carrots are tender. Add the garlic, cook for one minute, and season the whole thing with salt and pepper and remove to a medium bowl for later.
  3. Once the lentils are tender, discard the onion and turnip and drain the lentils. Place them into the bowl with the leek and carrots.
  4. Whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the lentil mixture Add to the lentils, stir well, and allow the lentils to cool until just warm, about 15 minutes. Taste, season with salt and pepper and serve.
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