Lentil Salad with Mustardy Vinaigrette

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I love lentils. They are a staple part of my family’s diet. They cook up quickly and are tasty and versatile – you can eat them alone, on top of a bed of greens, with a nice piece of fish on top, and more. Lentils are a great source of fiber and plant protein. They come in many different varieties, including red, green, and black. For this recipe, I use the small french green ‘puy’ lentils. I usually soak my lentils in water for several hours before cooking, but you don’t have to. The mustardy vinaigrette is really delicious and can be used for any salad.
Serves 4, with leftover vinaigrette
For the lentils:
  • 1 cup French green “Puy” lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Crunchy sea salt, such as Maldon, for garnish
  • handful of Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • crumbled goat cheese or diced mozzerella on top (optional)
For the mustardy vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  1. If you’ve soaked your lentils, drain and rinse. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with 3 cups of water. Throw in a bay leaf.
  2. Bring lentils to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook at a gentle simmer for about 15 minutes.  Check for doneness:  they should be soft all the way through, but not mushy.  Add a pinch of salt in the last few minutes of cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Whisk in the olive oil slowly to form an emulsion.  Add pepper and more salt to taste.
  4. When the lentils are done, drain in a fine mesh sieve and discard the bay leaf.
  5. Using the same pan, sauté the shallot, carrots, and celery in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  After a minute, add the garlic and sauté briefly, taking care not to burn the garlic.  Remove from the heat.
  6. Add the warm lentils to the sautéed vegetables and toss.
  7. Toss the lentils with about half of the salad dressing to moisten; use more if you like. Top with cheese, if using, and the crunchy salt and fresh parsley.
  8. Serve alone, on top a bed of greens, or with endive spears, drizzled with more vinaigrette.
Adapted from the food blog www.jacksonholefoodie.com.