Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Warm Lentils with Lemon Dressing


I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather, and it’s very frigid weather. I’d like to stick with the fresh flavors and healthy profiles of something like a salad, but I’ve been too cold. I did make some simple bean soup as well as a pot of Soup Beans lately, but I’ve also found that I can have my salad and my warmth all together. Sort of.

This is a very simple dish of warm lentils cooked with a bit of carrot, onion, celery and herbs (you could replace the fresh herbs with dried.) One then basically makes a salad out of them without waiting for them to cool. It’s not only warmer than a bean salad, but it’s faster as well. 

You might be able to use a different bean here, or add and subtract vegetables. I really liked the olives, parsley and green onions, but I think sun-dried tomatoes would be a good addition, or diced fresh tomatoes if they are in season.

You could also probably serve this dish as a salad, that is, cold. Since it’s January, however, these warm lentils are just right.

Warm Lentils with Lemon Dressing

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ cup finely chopped carrot
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, divided
3 cups water
1 cup dried lentils
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup finely chopped green onions

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are slightly softened and just beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop 2 cloves garlic. Stir the chopped garlic into the vegetables and cook 30 seconds more.

2. Add the lentils, water, thyme and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and boil gently 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

3. While the lentils are cooking, prepare the dressing: Chop the remaining garlic clove. Sprinkle with the salt and continue chopping the salt into the garlic. Continue chopping and scraping the salt and garlic together into a paste as described in this post.

4. In a small bowl, combine the garlic-salt paste, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, black pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Whisk together until smooth. Set aside.

5. Drain the tender lentils and place in a medium-size bowl. Add the Kalamata olives, parsley and green onions. Pour over the dressing mixture and stir to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Another recipe like this one: Lentil Soup with Winter Vegetables and Kale

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