Meatless Monday: Lentil Salad


Gluten-Free, Meatless, Salad, Vegan / Monday, December 28th, 2009

So, did you stuff yourself silly with cheese balls, sausage balls, meatballs and bourbon balls?

Me too! Since the last time we talked, it’s been a never-ending feast around here. Next year, I think I’ll walk around all holiday season a la the Ghost of Christmas Present, wearing a red velvet Snuggie™ and a holly wreath crown trimmed with Chex Mix® and chocolate-covered cherries.

After all of that glorious excess, my pendulum is swinging back toward lighter, fresher foods, and this Lentil Salad, a pimped-out variation on Alice Waters’ original, is hitting the spot nicely. And I just learned that, in Italy and Hungary, it’s traditional to eat lentils on New Year’s Day for luck and prosperity, since the lentils are round like coins. I think I’ll have an extra spoonful.

The prep is simple: Bring the lentils to a boil, simmer them until they’re tender, and toss them with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Then, add extra-virgin olive oil, scallions and parsley. Stop there, and you’ll have Ms. Waters’ version.

Or, you can make this salad your own by adding diced cucumber or tomato, chopped peppers, a small handful of feta cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice, a little shredded carrot – whatever you like. It’s especially good scooped up with ripped pieces of flatbread. And if you’re really feeling hungry, add a side of couscous with roasted vegetables and feta.

Now, cawnfayuss: What was the yummiest, most ridiculously decadent thing you had to eat over the holidays? My favorite was Mom’s coconut cake, but then there was also this spicy cheese dip loaded with sausage and habaneros and beans, standing rib roast, hashbrown casserole and Jeff’s aunt Debbie’s sausage bread. Sausage. Bread. The most wonderful time of the year, indeed.

Lentil Salad

Adapted from Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food”

Serves 4

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions or 3 tablespoons finely diced shallot
  • 3 tablespoon chopped parsley
  1. Sort and rinse lentils. Place them in a large saucepan, cover them with water by 3 inches, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, and reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
  2. Transfer the lentils to a large bowl, and toss them with vinegar, salt and pepper. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt and vinegar, if needed.
  3. Add olive oil, scallions or shallot, and parsley. Stir to combine. If the lentils seem dry, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving) – calories: 155, fat: 11g, carbs: 10.6g, fiber: 4g, protein: 4.7g, PP+ = 6

Variations:

  • 1/2 diced cucumber
  • 1 or 2 seeded tomatoes, diced
  • Dice 1/4 cup each carrot, celery and onion. Cook until tender in a couple spoonfuls of olive oil. Cool and stir into salad instead of scallions.
  • Garnish with 1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese.
  • Toast and crush 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, and add to salad. Replace parsley with cilantro.
  • Dice 1/4 cup sweet peppers, season with salt, and let stand to soften. Stir in with scallions or shallots.

29 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Lentil Salad

  1. Yummm! I love lentils.
    The best thing I ate? Chocolate Toffee Cookies from Bon Appetit. I only make them at Christmas, so I can splurge.

  2. The best food I had over the holidays is a toss up between my Grandma's decadent beef soup (Christmas Eve tradition) or my mom's take on my late Grandma Boots' homemade noodles (eaten on top of potatoes with gravy … I call that 'carb on carb' action.) :) This recipe looks very good though … I might need it as a palate cleanser.

  3. My dad butterflied and grilled an entire pork loin. Nothing like a yard of meat on the table to welcome baby Jesus into the world.

  4. I'm going with my ole' favorite sausage balls. I make them every year during the holidays and eat WAY too many of them (plus it's fun to work the word balls into a conversation). I'd be ashamed if I took a count of how many I consumed in a days time. There is a deluxe Slanket complete with foot pocket and hand pocket…as stupid as the name is I highly recommend it…and no I won't admit to it. :x

  5. Okay, will mine look as pretty as the picture of yours if I make it? Probably not but it still looks great! LOVE this recipe!

    The best thing I had over the holidays? Apple pie cheddar cheese and soy boiled custard. Uh, not together.

    1. Your salad will be gorgeous! It's all of that color, not Photoshop magic. ;)

      Mmm, love apple pie and cheddar cheese! I'll have to try the soy boiled custard sometime. You've got me curious.

  6. Beautiful salad! Love the red and green. :)

    I indulged in these unbelievable stuffed portabello mushrooms as — not dinner — but an APPETIZER for one of our Christmas meals this year. Holy cow. They were filled with a few zillion kinds of cheeses, bacon, sausage, veggies…you name it. Totally decadent, and totally delicious.

  7. I actually made not one but two of your tasty recipes – the Frozen Orange Balls and a milder version of the Jalapeno Cheese Straws. Thanks for both. It was great to take something new to our friends' annual open house.

  8. This is an amazing recipe and should help everyone clense themselves of the Christmas cookie residue we took in. I posted one amazing meal I had in Ft. Worth on my blog, http://www.bunny-bites.blogspot.com, but my mom also made a great pasta affair. She used corn pasta, pepper-jack cheese and Field Roast chipotle sausage. It was total comfort food and all my meat eating family slurped it right up. Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe. I'm really excited to try it out!

  9. Hmmm… we went for a mostly healthy Christmas to help my uncle, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes. But aside from the juicy pork roast, roasted cauliflower, quinoa with leeks and parmesan and a host of other veggie sides, I'd say the pepperoni omelet and traditional Italian anise cookies would be the indulgent parts.

  10. Hmmm… we went for a mostly healthy Christmas to help my uncle, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes. But aside from the juicy pork roast, roasted cauliflower, quinoa with leeks and parmesan and a host of other veggie sides, I'd say the pepperoni omelet and traditional Italian anise cookies would be the indulgent parts.

  11. Every Christmas, my niece serves an enormous pot of gumbo made with homemade seafood stock and a roux she stirs lovingly and slowly for more time than I would ever stand over a stove. In my part of the country (the Mississippi Gulf Coast, just an hour from New Orleans and two from the heart of Cajun country), EVERY restaurant claims its seafood gumbo is the best. I've tried them all, and my niece's surpasses anything in a restaurant. Oh, yes, and she serves it with potato salad instead of rice. Yes, the ultimate eat-till-you-burst holiday gumbo is served over potato salad, not rice. Makes me hungry just writing about it.

  12. I'm definitely making the lentil salad! My favorite comfort food this holiday was squash casserole. Yum yum. Don't tell, but I had the leftovers for breakfast this morning.

  13. Not to slight Alice, but I'm going with this version, quite possibly tomorrow b/c I need to get to the store first. Absolutely delicious looking. BTW, I'm here to get caught up, so fasten your seatbelt.

  14. I made a chocolate caramel macadamia pie from scratch (Epicurious recipe) and served it with good vanilla ice cream. That was pretty decadent. In fact, if I were to make it again, I would reduce the amount of caramel – it swamped the chocolate.

  15. I made a chocolate caramel macadamia pie from scratch (Epicurious recipe) and served it with good vanilla ice cream. That was pretty decadent. In fact, if I were to make it again, I would reduce the amount of caramel – it swamped the chocolate.

  16. We had standing rib roast that was pretty decadent. I then took the leftovers and made cottage pie with them. Yum.

    My wife's family has a tradition with lentils, they eat them on New Years Day to bring about wealth. This salad looks the perfect way to do that, thanks!

  17. Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce (spilled over turkey, dressing, and the chocolate pound cake my grandmother made afterwards). Talk about spicing things up – reduce bag of frozen cranberries down with cup of pomegranate juice and sugar. Add pomegranate seeds right before serving. YUM.

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