Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lentil Salad with Feta and Mint

Article first published as Recipe: Lentil Salad with Feta and Mint on Blogcritics.

I love lentils!  They are inexpensive packed with protein, versatile, and relatively quick cooking.  I especially like to use French Green Lentils because they hold their shape and texture in cooking so they’re equally good in salads and casseroles, as in soups.  Read more about lentils here:  http://www.food.com/library/lentil-258

This salad makes an elegant and delicious supper with mixed greens and some grilled fish or lamb.  You could also make it a main dish used as a base for sautéed shrimp.  The leftovers make a terrific luncheon and with its vibrantly colored herbs and chopped vegetables, it is pretty and unique enough to take to a cookout.  Enjoy! 

2 cups dried French green lentils
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
3 Tbsp Olive oil
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
¾ cup diced red onion
¾ cup diced red pepper
2 Tbsp capers
¾ cup diced celery
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 oz, crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped mint
¼ cup chopped basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook the lentils as directed in salted water.  Add the sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf to the simmering pot (be sure to remove before stirring the lentils into the salad).  Cook for about 25 minutes, testing to be sure they are done but not mushy.  Drain and set aside to cool.  While the lentils are cooling, mix up the lemon juice, zest, vinegar, olive oil, capers, and salt and pepper.  Chop all the vegetables and herbs and add into the dressing.  Add the lentils to the dressing and chopped vegetables/herbs and stir gently to mix.  Add the feta cheese just before serving to ensure it doesn’t melt from the heat of the lentils.  This dish is great served room temperature or cold.    

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