Now that the heat is here, I like whole grain summer salads for quick meals. I found this recipe on allrecipes.com, but changed it up a bit to suit my needs--for instance, less fat, the addition of a tomato, and since I didn't have fresh parsley, I added dried parsley to the lentils cooking and then used fresh mint and basil to mix in at the end. I also liked the addition of a little bit of cheese--just a bit takes it over the top. I'm sure you can substitute the feta for Parmesan or another cheese and it will be amazing. Or, skip the cheese for a vegan meal.
This earthy salad is very delicious and filling. It would make a wonderful meal to take to work or as an addition to a picnic. The salad travels well, and if you don't use the cheese, you can leave it out for several hours without fear that it will spoil or 'go bad.' I really enjoyed it the texture of the lentils, the tartness of the lemon, and the intense flavor of the fresh herbs. It's also a great way to squeeze in some vegetables!
MEDITERRANEAN LENTIL SALAD
Adapted from www.allrecipes.com
- 1 cup dry brown lentils
- 1 cup diced carrots (~2.5 carrots)
- 1 cup red onion, diced (about 1 red onion)
- 1 tomato, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (I used the zest too)
- 1/2 cup diced celery (about 1.5 stalks)
- *1/4 cup chopped parsley (or 1/2 tsp. dried that you can add to the lentils during cooking-see note below)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil (I used less)
- 1/4-1/3 cup reduced fat feta, crumbled or grated (optional)
In a saucepan combine lentils, carrots, onion, tomato, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch (this was about 3-4 cups for me).
Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils are tender but not mushy. (I needed to boil my lentils for about 8-10 minutes longer to get the right tenderness in the lentils)
Drain lentils and vegetables and remove bay leaf. In a medium sized bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, celery, parsley (or any other fresh herbs of your choice-see note below), salt and pepper to the lentils. Then add the feta, if using. Toss all the ingredients together and serve at room temperature.
*One handful of chopped herbs--a combination of mint, basil, and parsley is particularly delicious