Summer Lentil Salad

Our diet changes from season to season and while we love lentils year round, during the warmer months of the year we are much more likely to be enjoying a tasty lentil salad full of summer vegetables rather than a bowl of hearty lentil soup. I love to throw together quick vegetable salads for our lunches that also include grains such as farro or barley, as well as beans and lentils. I add fresh vegetables just picked from our garden, fresh, chopped herbs, and toss every together with a light vinaigrette.

You can use just about any fresh vegetable you prefer in these types of salads, but in the salad pictured I used lentils from Umbria, zucchini, celery, onions, red pepper, fennel, and chopped fresh parsley and basil. I made a balsamic vinegar dressing to bring the flavors together, and the salad was complete. This salad is also perfect for picnics or outdoor barbecues as it packs well and can be prepared ahead of time.

It is best to use the small green French lentils, or small brownness, not the larger orange ones as you want you lentils to remain somewhat firm to the bite and not get too mushy. Because lentils are so small, I dice up my vegetables fairly small as well. Lentils cook fairly quickly compared to dried beans, and can go from perfectly cooked to mushy in minutes, so it is best to keep an eye on the lentils and taste often as you cook them. I like lots of vegetables in my salads so the ingredients below are generous, but feel free to decrease amounts as you choose.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Summer Lentil Salad

A healthy high fiber salad with lots of crunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Dried Lentils
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, Trimmed And Cut Into 1/2 Inch Dice
  • 2 Stalks Celery, Trimmed And Cut Into 1/2 Inch Dice
  • 1 Small Red Onion, Peeled And Cut Into 1/2 Inch Dice
  • 1 Red Pepper, Cored, Seeds Removed And Cut Into 1/2 Inch Dice
  • 1 Small Fennel Bulb, Trimmed And Cut Into 1/2 Inch Dice
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil

Dressing:

  • 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

Directions:

  1. Sort and rinse the lentils.
  2. Cover with water by 3 inches and bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer and cook until tender all the way through (adding more water if necessary), about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
  3. Drain well and cool to room temperature.
  4. Place the lentils in a large bowl with the vegetables and chopped fresh herbs and mix.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients with a whisk until well blended.
  6. Pour half over the lentil mixture, toss and taste.
  7. Add as much additional dressing as needed.