I had a packet of the prettiest du Pry French lentils sitting in my cupboard waiting for just the right occasion. I decided today was just that occasion. I make lentil soup all the time in the winter but had not actually ever made a lentil salad. These tiny round treasures are wonderful as they're substantial and "meaty" and are packed with fiber. They're the blank canvas and it's fun to add the flavors you love. This is very vegetarian - even vegan - but I do love this with hearty chunks of very fresh salty feta cheese. This salad is delicious the next day.
For the lentils:
1 1/2 cups of french green lentils (such as du Puy)
3 cups of boiling water
1 bay leaf
For the salad;
1 English cucumber (diced, seeds removed)
1 red pepper (diced)
1 golden pepper (diced)
1 jalapeno pepper (diced) optional
1/2 red onion (very finely chopped)
A good handful of cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
A large handful (or two) of your favorite fresh herbs (I used mint and parsley here from the garden)
Zest and juice of a lemon
For the dressing;
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
A tablespoon of very finely chopped herbs
Juice and zest of a lemon
Dash of cumin
Approximately 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
To prepare the lentils place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, cover with a plate and let sit for 15 minutes. Transfer the lentils and the water into a pot, add a bay leaf, bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Start checking in 30 minutes.
Meanwhile chop the vegetables and herbs and place into a pretty bowl.
To make the dressing mix together the mustard, vinegar, very finely chopped herbs, salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice and cumin. Whisk in a tablespoon of olive oil a tablespoon at a time. Check the seasonings and pour over the vegetables.
When the lentils are cooked, drain, discard the bay leaf and add the lentils to the vegetables and dressing. The lentils will soak up the delicious dressing. Cool and then add some more lemon juice and some another sprinkling of finely chopped herbs.
The salad can be served at room temperature or chilled.