Yes, this is a meat-centric blog, but there is no time like Lent to remember the humble lentil.
This dish makes a hearty and very very very healthy side to just about any meal, especially some kind of roast or ham. However, let’s take a minute to celebrate the humble lentil in its own right. Yes, lentils get a bad rep for being mushy or otherwise undesirable, however, I’m an especially big fan of either the green “Le Puy” or black lentils that retain their shape when cooked. As long as you don’t over cook them or add too much water, they retain a nice little bite. Kind of like an al dente pasta.
Now, I know that the caveman/low carb diet is ALL THE RAGE these days, so people tend to poo poo legumes. (“Too starchy!”) Do keep in mind that according to wikipedia, 30% of the lentil’s calories come from protein, making them the “3rd highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut.” So if nuts can be in your diet, so can a good scoop of lentils. There you have it, no more excuses, as long as you’re not strictly almost-no-carb. This makes it an especially nice vegetarian option for those low and less carb eaters, as Easter is on the horizon and people tend to give up meat on Fridays ’round this time of year.
The capers listed in this recipe are optional only because I forgot to include them both times I made this dish. It’s still delicious without them, so whether or not you add them is really up to you.
Warm lentil salad
|Prep time||5 minutes|
|Cook time||25 minutes|
|Total time||30 minutes|
- 1.5 cups black or green Le Puy lentils
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 red bell pepper (diced)
- 1/2 pint white or baby bella mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 teaspoon dried sage (or 1 T fresh chopped)
- 1 teaspoon rosemary (or 1 T fresh chopped)
- 3 cups water, broth (throw in a parmesan rind, optional)
- 2 tablespoons capers (roughly chopped)
For the dressing
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
|Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Rinse the lentils, and let them drain. Add the chopped onion to the pot and cook until they start to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Add the lentils and give everything a good stir so the lentils become coated with the oil and spices. Add the broth/water and a parmesan rind (if using). Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes. If the lentils have not yet absorbed all the water after 25 minutes, continue to simmer uncovered.|
|While the lentils are cooking, whisk together the dijon mustard and vinegar. Continue to whisk as you stream in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the lentils are tender and all the water is absorbed, toss with the dressing and capers (if using). Serve by itself over a bed of greens that can hold up to a little heat, like spinach or baby kale.|
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