French Lentil Salad

myparisktichenWith Bastille Day coming up tomorrow I decided to open My Paris Kitchen Cookbook by David Lebovitz. If you don’t know David Lebovitz you should definitely check out his blog and this cookbook. I love this cookbook, it is full of history and stories behind each recipe, along with information about the specific ingredients. The recipes are inspired by more than just french cooking, with influence from different cultures and foods. It is put together beautifully with amazing photography of Paris cityscape and simple food. I am inspired and transported back to France every time I open this book! MPK lentil salad

This recipe is not the first thing you would think of when you think french cuisine, its not crepes, croissants, or anything fancy, just an unpretentious yet charming salad. The recipe calls for French Green Lentils which I did not have so I used my lentil mix. These lentils have traveled across the country and moved with me 4 times. I bought this specific bag of lentils from Costco when I moved into my apartment in Seattle 4 years ago! (does this make me sound like a hoarder, I am not I promise I just hate throwing good food away). At the time I had never had lentils but figured I would give them a try. I lived in that apartment for 9 months and they just sat in the cupboard. I packed them up and moved them to Michigan, then a townhouse in Arlington, VA, a small house in Arlington, and now the current house I live in. So I have decided it is time, time to use these lentils up before I have to move again, and I am glad I did. This recipe is deliciously simple, bursting with fresh flavor. It makes a great side dish or main entree in the summer.
up close lentil saladI made the salad to bring to an outdoor movie in the city with some friends. When Harry met Sally was playing. I can not believe I had never seen this classic before!  Outdoor movies are the best, delicious food, a blanket, “hiding” wine in a plastic cup, good friends and an 80 degree night makes for a perfect summer evening 🙂
lentil salad from above

The Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz:

Lentils

1 1/2 cups lentils (Lebovitz recommends Green Lentils from Le Puy)

1 bay leaf

5 springs of thyme

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 Tbs. honey

1 Tbs. Olive oil

Dressing

1 Tbs. red wine vinegar

1 1/4 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/3 cup olive oil, or half walnut oil (I used almond) and half olive

1 small shallot, peeled and minced

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1 cup crumbled goat cheese

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss carrots, honey and olive oil onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft and tender.

2. Rinse the lentils and put them in a saucepan with plenty of slightly salted water, the bay leaf and the thyme (try not to leave these out, it really does make a big difference in taste!). Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer and boil for about 15 minutes.

3. While the lentils and carrots are cooking you can make the dressing. Mix liquid ingredients in a small dish, or a large bowl, I like to add the dressing gradually though.

4. Drain the lentils, removing the bay leaf and thyme. Mix them with the carrots, dressing, and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

5. Add fresh pepper to taste, parsley, nuts and goat cheese. I served the salad at room temperature, but ate it the next day cold as leftovers, Lebovitz serves it warm, so whatever you prefer!

Enjoy!

Amanda

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