Monday, 6 June 2011

Moosewood Mondays: Mediterranean Lentil Salad

This is a good salad for those sultry evenings when all you want to do is curl up with a good book on the deck, and of course an ice cold bottle of Pinot Grigio.

Make this in the morning and let it chill whilst you work, garden, nap, whatever.

It will be waiting for you, all cold and healthy and easy, ready for a quick garnishing - because we all like to look good - even salads.

The lentils are grounding and give you that virtuous filled-up feeling without getting over-full, and the herbs and veggies give a cool brightness while the feta and olives lend salty goodness to the dish. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Lentil Salad     
Serve this nutritious salad on a bed of lettuce, topped with feta cheese and olives and surrounded by tomato wedges and cucumber slices.
Serves 4
Total time: 30 minutes

1 cup brown or green lentils
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme,(½ teaspoon dried)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
boiling water
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced red or yellow bell pepper
½ cup minced red onion
½ cup chopped fresh parsley

⅓ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 rounded teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Rinse the lentils. In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils, water, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally.

While the lentils simmer, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Combine the celery, peppers, onions, and parsley in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients until smooth. When the sun-dried tomatoes have softened, drain and mince them, and add to the vegetables.

Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaves. Remove the garlic, mash it, and mix it back into the lentils. Toss the lentils with the vegetables and dressing, and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Serve immediately, or cover and chill to serve later.

Reprinted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks At Home, online source here.

My Changes
I only use sweet onions in salads. I used sun dried tomatoes that were packed in oil - I think they taste better. And I used roasted red peppers instead of raw, and a mix of fresh parsley, oregano, mint and thyme from the garden instead of just parsley.
Also, I had no cukes for the garnishing - but they would have been really good in this recipe.