Here’s a wonderful Warm Lentil Salad that’s wholesome and filling enough to be served as a meal. Made with dried green lentils (or canned if you prefer), carrot, celery, tomatoes, feta and drizzled with a gorgeous lemon/garlic dressing.
When listening to stories of my dad’s childhood in his country of birth, Egypt, he would tell me that his family was so poor that they would have to eat lentils for an entire week. As much as l love lentils, l would struggle to do that, but his experience tells us that historically, lentils were a food that fed the poor.
Fast forward several decades and lentils have moved up the social ladder. Restaurants plate them up with costly salmon and cafes transform them into gourmet burgers or sumptuous salads.
What makes green lentils so versatile is their ability to retain their firm texture after cooking. Lentils really benefit by being cooked with ingredients that boost their flavour. I use chicken stock/broth in place of water, a bay leaf, sliced garlic cloves, salt and pepper.
Twenty minutes is all it takes to reach a texture that is tender but still has some ‘bite’. If you’re pushed for time, canned lentils are a good substitute and don’t worry about them not having flavour, the lemon/garlic dressing will take care of that.
I guess l don’t have to tell you that whenever l plate up my Warm Lentil Salad, l think of my dad.
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4 – 5
- 200 g / 7 oz dried green lentils or 2 x 400 g / 14 oz cans of lentils
- 2 – 2 1/2 cups chicken stock / broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large garlic clove, sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup parsley, roughly chopped
- 90 g / 3 oz feta, crumbled
- 2 handfuls rocket leaves / arugula
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, grated / minced
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- Dried Lentils: Place lentils, stock/broth, bay leaf, garlic and seasoning into a medium-large saucepan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer over medium heat for 20 mins. The lentils will be tender but will retain some ‘bite’. Drain, remove garlic and bay leaf. Set aside. Canned Lentils: Remove lentils from cans. Rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Place all dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake well.Set aside.
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in a medium pan over moderate – low heat. Saute the onions, garlic, celery and carrots for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened. You don’t want them mushy.
- Reduce heat to low. Add lentils, tomatoes and parsley. Cook until warmed through (2 mins). Remove from heat.
- Pour dressing and gently mix through. Have a taste. Add salt and pepper if needed.
- Place rocket / arugula on a serving plate. Spoon the lentil salad on top. Crumble over feta cheese.