I mentioned in my last post that spring is a great time for dinner salads, and this is another great one. This recipe again comes from Jack Bishop's seasonal cookbook, and I made only a few changes to it. I just left out the radishes, used less feta, added some cherry tomatoes, and substituted baby arugula for mesclun. To be honest, I'm not even 100% sure what mesclun is, but the name sounded clunky and I couldn't find it in the grocery store anyway. (I think it's similar to spring mix.)
You will need:
- 1 1/4 cups dried green lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 medium celery stalk, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp dried dill
- a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 cups packed arugula or other spring salad greens
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Bring the lentils and garlic cloves to a boil in about 6 cups of water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Then, reduce the heat and simmer briskly with the lid askew for 15 minutes.
- Add in 1 tsp salt and the carrots and continue cooking for for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots and lentils are tender but not too soft. Drain, discarding the garlic.
- Meanwhile, whisk the oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt together in a bowl. (Or put it all in a screw-lid container and shake.)
- Place the drained lentils and carrots, the celery, dill, and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over this mixture and toss to coat evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Divide the arugula between four plates. Spoon the lentil salad over top and sprinkle each plate with about 1/8 cup of feta. Serve immediately.
This was a refreshing and filling dinner salad. I liked the contrast between the soft, cooked lentils and carrots and the crunchy, raw celery. The lemon offers a tangy brightness while the feta is creamy and salty. The leftovers were great on their own the next day, and I assume they'd be delicious over rice or couscous, too. I don't think serving the mixture warm is necessary, so I'd guess this could be prepared several hours ahead of time and served at room temperature.