Lentils, one of the great legumes of its category. These little beans are so full of nutrients and are a wonderful source of protein. No wonder they are always on the grocery lists of so many vegetarians. This is not to say that the rest of us meat eaters haven't fallen in love with them either. On the contrary, lentils can be found in most kitchen cabinets and pantries around. Most of us are familiar with the wonderful soups and stews these beans make. If you go to the archives of this blog, you will find such recipes; however, chilled lentils in salads are a lesser known use. Now I know there are a lot of you in the know that are the exception. But let me talk about a wonderful way of preparing chilled lentils that you will find absolutely refreshing, full of flavor, and oh so healthy. I call this recipe Lemon Lentil Salad.
This recipe uses the French green lentils that are deeper in color and are different than other lentils in that they are more round and tend to hold their shape when cooked. They have a wonderful rich flavor and are ideal when creating salads. I strongly recommend using this type of lentil when preparing this dish. Here's what we need:
- 1 1/2 cups of dry French lentils
- 6 cups of water
- 1 small shallot, minced (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- This recipe will take about an hour from start to finish. When you have put this together, please chill in your fridge for at least an hour before serving. Options for this dish may also include 1 teaspoon of ginger paste and chopped mint leaves.
- Start by bringing 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Once water is boiling, add the lentils and boil for about 40 minutes or so. You want to check them so they aren't over cooked, so at 30 minutes check them. When they are al dente, they are ready. They should still retain their wonderful shape. Once ready, remove them from the stove top and immediately strain them and run cold water over them for a few minutes. This will stop the cooking process. Once well drained, transfer them to a large bowl and add the parsley, green onions, and minced shallots, toss gently with a large serving spoon. Cover with plastic and place in your fridge.
- While lentils are cooling, prepare your dressing. In a small bowl, add the olive oil, the lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend vigorously until the olive oil begins to emulsify. You may if you wish, add a half teaspoon of Dijon mustard or a teaspoon of rice vinegar. This is a very forgiving dish, meaning that it has no problem with added ingredients. Once well mixed, add the dressing to the lentils and gently toss. Return lentils to the fridge until well chilled. This dish may be served on a bed of Boston (butter) lettuce and can either be served as a salad course or an appetizer. It's absolutely wonderful. I'm serious!
|Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Serving Size 459g|
|Recipe makes 4 servings|
|Calories from Fat 127||33%|
|Total Fat 14.32g||18%|
|Saturated Fat 1.99g||8%|
|Trans Fat 0.0g|
|Total Carbs 45.17g||12%|
|Dietary Fiber 22.3g||74%|