I know, I know…another salad! :)
It is no secret that salads have been on my mind lately. The weather is warming up here in So. Cal and I instinctively start craving them. And so it is…another salad that I have been loving lately I have to share with you. And if you’re like me, you can find a salad and stick with it for month’s on end. This is one of those simple salads that falls into that category for me. Not that my other salads don’t but this one has lots of qualities that suit me on a regular basis. For one, it’s easy. It’s only one tablespoon oil. The ingredients are simple and readily available. It’s filling and has a nice share of protein from the lentils. The lentils can be served warmed or chilled, making it a nice versatile salad for the cooler season’s. For me these are great qualities that I can stand behind day after day.
The first time I had french lentils was from Trader Joe’s. They sell a steamed package that is fantastic! I’ve used them for tacos, eaten them plain, either cold or warmed, and now in salads. If you have access to these Trader Joe’s lentils by all means feel free to use them in this recipe in place of making them from scratch.
I finally got my hands on some dried french green lentils from Bob’s Red Mill. I love them as well…they are so beautiful dry with their marbled and speckled surface. They have a nice flavor and pair wonderfully in this salad with the bitter sweet greens while adding a nice heartiness. I like to use about 1 cup cooked lentils for my salad but feel free to adjust up or down to suit your needs. Anything smaller than a cup for me and I’m hungry an hour after. I like my salads to be on the big side! You will have left over lentils for another salad or usage of choice.
The remaining key ingredients are simple and few. You may even have most of them on hand right now. I know the endive may be a bit harder for some to come by but you can use all arugula or choose from a variety of bitter greens such as radicchio, kale (julienned lacinato is best for this recipe), watercress, spinach, escarole, dandelion, etc. Use a much as you like of each ingredient.
On a side note: I love music…when I’m in the kitchen playing around with recipes I usually have my playlist going and the volume up high…it’s so therapeutic and relaxing to me. I thought I’d share a track that suited this recipe a bit, being that they both relate to french. You may already know this song, and if you don’t have a listen and enjoy the mellow sounds…Thievery Corporation – Lebanese Blonde (French Version)
FRENCH LENTIL & BITTER GREENS SALAD
- 1 cup french lentils (beluga or puy), rinsed and picked over
- 2 bay leafs
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 – 5 oz. bitter greens of choice (arugula, belgian endive, watercress, spinach, lacinato kale, escarole, dandelion to name a few)
- grape tomatoes, halved
- scallions or shallots, sliced
- mineral salt, to taste
- fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Lemon Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette (serves one)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white or dark balsamic vinegar (I used white)
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard (whole grain is great too)
- juice of one small lemon
- mineral salt & pepper to taste
In a medium size pot, bring water, lentils, bay leafs and garlic powder to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. We want them tender but still holding their shape. Remove from heat, let cool a few minutes and drain.
While lentils are cooking start your vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Set aside.
Next, prepare your greens and remaining salad ingredients using as much or little as you like.
Once lentils are done, prepare your salad by laying your greens first, then add 2/3 – 3/4 cup or so of lentils and toss gently. Top with tomatoes, scallions and a good sprinkling of mineral salt and fresh cracked pepper. Or simply lay your greens and top with lentils and remaining salad ingredients without tossing at all if you rather. No rules here, do what feels best for you!
Store leftover lentils in the refrigerator for another salad or usage of choice.