Monday, August 14, 2017

Summer Garden Lentil Salad


If you're like me, the word lentils makes you think of soup and Indian food. It wasn't until I was told I should include some lentils in my dogs' diet that I actually bought some and started cooking with them.

There are three kinds of lentils. Red lentils are the softest and cook the fastest. Green lentils are the most common and probably the ones you've seen in soup. And then there's my favorite. The lentil that changed my mind about them—French lentils.

Unlike beans, dried lentils do not need to be soaked overnight. You add water or broth and cook. It's easy to put on a pot when you're cooking something else.

My picky-eater friend loathes beans. She doesn't like the texture or the flavor. If you're like that, you might want to skip the French lentils. But if you're open to a very healthy high-fiber food, then you might like lentils.

I've been making lentil salads for a few years now and had no idea that they're considered a national dish in France. I'm sure they're even tastier when eaten outdoors while gazing at fields of sunflowers or lavender.

Now that it's August, our garden is producing a lot of veggies. I believe celery is typical in a French lentil salad, but I used baby cucumbers for crunch because they're so delicious. We had a volunteer grape tomato plant this year and it's full of lovely tomatoes, which I used in the salad.

This is really very simple and the wonderful thing is that you can tweak it to suit your taste. Sometimes I add corn, which makes it very pretty and a little sweeter. Garlic lovers should feel free to add it, too. If your kids balk at it (Seriously? The little round lentils are so cute!) add a tablespoon of honey to the dressing to sweeten it up.

So here's my basic recipe. Have fun with it!

Summer Garden Lentil Salad

1 1/2 cups cooked French lentils (cook according to package)
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced baby cucumber (or celery)
10-12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped parsley + leaves to garnish
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine French herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the lentils, onion, cucumber, tomatoes and chopped parsley in a bowl. In a small cup, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, fine French herbs, and salt and pepper. Pour over the lentils and toss. Garnish with parsley leaves.



Today's haul from the garden.

Before dressing.

Very simple.

After dressing.


COLOR ME MURDER, the first book in my new Pen & Ink Mysteries.
You can color the cover!

18 comments:

  1. I love the cover! Clever idea. The salad sounds good too! Dspinlexo@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dee! We enjoyed the salad.

      Delete
  2. Love French lentils--going to try this--thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It might be right up your alley, Lucy!

      Delete
  3. Julia Child introduced me to lentils, but I don't think I've tried a salad version!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you'll like it. I wonder if Julia has a salad version?

      Delete
  4. Going to make this for lunch today

    ReplyDelete
  5. This sounds intriguing, and I love your cover for the new series , can't wait ! kathambre@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kathy. I'm excited about the new series.

      Delete
  6. I have a bag of French lentils that has been sitting on a shelf for several years. I think it is finally calling me! This recipe looks so good. Are the fine French herbs a seasoning mix?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. If you have tarragon, I think that flavor is key.

      Delete
  7. You're right I never thought of lentils for a salad. Sounds & looks tasty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a nice change and wonderful if you have fresh veggies from the garden.

      Delete
  8. What a pretty salad and I can just imagine sitting in a field of lavender eating a salad and drinking wine. Going there in my mind now. Thanks, Krista. ~ Daryl

    ReplyDelete
  9. Have you tried black lentils? They are, no surprise here, black and round.
    I've used them in a bolognese sauce in place of meat and it works really well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Libby, I think black lentils are French lentils! : )

      Delete