Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Aren't these beautiful lentils? I love the streaks of color on each little bean. I bought them from a bulk bin and they weren't labeled, so I don't know what kind they are.

This lentil salad is one of my favorites -- I make it often, especially in the summer. I vary the ingredients a bit, using chopped fennel instead of celery, or adding a shredded carrot.  The red bell pepper was not on the original list of ingredients, but I always add that now because Brian is not fond of the little tomatoes and I like the added color. Sometimes I add the tomatoes anyway (easy enough to eat around them), but I still use the red pepper.

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

This salad is especially beautiful with black lentils, which are hard to find around here.

1-1/4 cups uncooked lentils 
2-1/2 cups water
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2+ tsp. thyme (or other herb to taste)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
grape tomatoes (optional)
1 cup diced cucumber (I seed the cuke)
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (can I make a salad without feta?)

Place the lentils and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 min or until the lentils are tender. Drain well and set aside. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl; stir with a wire whisk until blended. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, celery, and onion to the lentils and pour the dressing over. Toss gently to coat. 
 This is an adaptation, but I don't know where the original recipe came from.

Leftovers are delicious tossed with a green salad. Add other things, too -- I see some shredded beets in here, and there's probably some other stuff, too...

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