TopCloseWith the long Labor Day weekend upon us and all the guests coming and going, picnics, barbeques and invitations, I found myself in need of some side dishes to serve and to bring to friends houses.  Aside from the usual potato, macaroni, pasta and bean salads I wanted something a bit different for our Labor Day picnic.  In recent years many of our friends have become vegetarians or nearly vegetarians.  I was a vegetarian for many years and I know what it feels like to approach a buffet table and end up eating tossed green salad while everyone else is feasting.  Over those years I became quite found of lentils as a source of protein and I still have a certain weakness for them.  I have had this recipe for years and I have absolutely no recollection of where I got or I certainly would give credit where credit is due.   It from but it has become a favorite around my house.  To whoever invented this recipe I offer my sincere apologies for reposting it here and my many thanks for years of delightful eating pleasure.

The recipe is great because it is really nothing more than cooked lentils, onion and a spicy dressing.  It is left up to you to add whatever ingredients you deem suitable to your taste.  The possibilities are endless.  Some of my favorite things to add are nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds), dried cherries, dried cranberries, cilantro, dates, prunes, flax seeds.  You get the idea.

Side

 

Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups (1 lb.)  lentils, DuPuy or French green lentils.  Do not use brown lentils as they tend to get too mushy during cooking.

1 medium red onion, diced

1 cup raisins or currants

1/3 cup capers, rinsed

Dressing:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

 

Directions: 1.

Rinse and drain lentils. Place in a saucepan and cover with about 4 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer then lentils until done. Check lentils for doneness often and be very careful to not overcook the lentils.  They should still have a bite to them.

2. To make the dressing,  by place all ingredients in a screw top jar and shake to combine.

3. Finely dice red onion.

4. When the lentils are cooked, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. While the lentils are still warm, toss with the dressing. Add the onion, capers, and raisins or currants and any other additional ingredients your choose and refrigerate until ready to serve. If you plan on adding fresh herbs wait until ready to serve before adding them so they retain their bright color and flavor.

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