Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cold Lentil Salad

Last summer, I can't tell you how many variations to "cold lentil salad" I saw.  There were almost a dozen different salads, I think.

This summer, I haven't stumbled across any.  Be that as it may, I made it my aim to make a lentil salad myself that had all the positive elements of these other salads I saw.  You know how it is -- you see a recipe and you like almost all of it.  Or you taste a salad and think to yourself, wow, this is great except for X.  Well, this is a Sarah-taste-bud-led creation.  

This cold lentil salad is a wonderful dish for summer days when being in a warm kitchen, or eating a warm dinner, is last on our to-do list.  It's an easy make-ahead main dish that's filling if you eat it with rice, or still great just as a side salad!
Cold Lentil Salad
Serves 6 main dishes, 10-12 side dishes (6 cups)
Active time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes (not including chill time of 2 hours)
Serving Suggestions: As a salad to a meal without a protein component, or over brown rice as a main dish with gazpacho on the side.

What you'll need:
  • 3/4 cup dry lentils, picked over and rinsed + 1 1/2 cups broth OR water  
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 TBLS lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 TBLS red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup packed grated zucchini
  • 1 diced red OR green bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin, for garnish (optional)
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice (optional for main dish)

What you'll do:
  • Cook lentils on the stove or in a rice cooker until soft.  About 40 minutes.  Drain if needed.
  • Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and garlic.  Set aside.
  • Place all chopped vegetables in a large mixing bowl with herbs, cumin, salt and pepper.
  • Once lentils are done, add to the mixing bowl.  Gently stir in the dressing and mix until everything is combined.
  • Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
  • Sprinkle sliced scallion on for garnish right before serving.
  • Main dish option: serve over brown rice

Time tip:  If you are going to make this a main dish, simply cook the rice and lentils together since they take the same amount of time to cook and skip the “serve over” step -- just eat it already mixed together!

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