Ok -- this is for all you people that claim to hate lentils. Or maybe you have never tried lentils.... now is the time.
Lentil salad is nothing like over-cooked, way-too-mushy lentils that some of us have had. I will admit .... lentils weren't always one of my favorite foods. In fact, if it could possibly be classified as a legume, I would not eat it. But Honey's heart attack and my pledge to keep him healthy, changed all that. It was time to try it.
So here we go with a simple, delicious lentil salad. It will keep for days in the fridge. This is my version .... I'm pretty certain I stole this from somewhere. Change it around a bit and call it your own.
First of all -- there are many types of lentils. I think the best variety for a salad is a French Lentil. A little smaller and dark green, they hold their shape well and cook quickly. These are usually found in a health food store or a larger grocery store.
Lentils (like beans) double in size when they are cooked. Serving size is 1/4 cup uncooked. So one cup of uncooked lentils will make 4 side-servings. You decide if you want this for a side dish or a main dish. Let say you are cooking 1 cup of lentils.
Bring unsalted water to a boil. You want to season the lentils after cooking as salt will make them tough while boiling. The french lentils will take 5-10 minutes to become al dente..... a little resistance to the tooth. Soft but just a bit of bite.
Drain and rinse with cold water and let drain.
Now ..... for the good part!
Add 1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 of a onion, diced (I like using red onions)
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 med diced sweet pepper (any color ... but red or yellow are pretty and remember, you eat first with your eyes)
1/2 can drained quartered artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1/4 c Kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes (if packed in oil -- just chop away. If they are dry packed -- re-hydrate them by pouring boiling water over them and let them sit until plump. Like me!!)
And its time to dress those bad girls!!! A very simple vinaigrette works great. I use 1/3 c of red wine vinegar and 2/3 c of a great olive oil. A little basil, a little salt and a little pepper and you whisk away!
Mix everything together and let the flavors come together over night.
I will serve this as is .... or maybe use it for a side dish with a grilled salmon steak. It is awesome with some shrimp or chicken mixed in it. Maybe add a little feta or shave some Asiago cheese over the top.
The big thing is to make it your own. Peas, a little steamed broccoli or asparagus is wonderful in this. Make sure you have enough seasoning and vary it depending on the mood your salad takes. Change the vinegar to your favorite and add the veggies you love best.
I did a demonstration today at Generations --Area Agency on Aging and showed how to make this salad. Lot of skeptical people in the audience were pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed it. Give it a try ...... and you may be liking lentils too!