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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Greek Lentil Salad with Spring Onions

GLUTEN-FREE  |  DAIRY OPTIONAL  |  DETOX-FRIENDLY


This flavorful dish is full of ingredients you might find in a Greek salad: feta cheese, tomatoes, oregano, and Kalamata olives. Cucumbers are usually part of the mix but because they aren't in season yet, I substituted spring onions. And because it's also too early for fresh local tomatoes, I used sun-dried ones soaked in olive oil. You can serve this salad as a side dish or as a main course, topped with grilled calamari, shrimp, or wild salmon.

I used Le Puy lentils for this salad, the small green ones from the Auvergne region of France, and it's worth seeking them out. Le Puy lentils have a unique nutty flavor that comes from the mineral-rich volcanic soil in which they're grown, and because they contain less starch, they hold their shape after cooking while other lentils can get mushy, which is not a very pleasant texture for a salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils du Puy or French green lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground peppercorn 
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped artichoke hearts (marinated and drained or frozen and thawed)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes pre-soaked in olive oil
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced, white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Directions:
  1. In a medium pan, add the lentils and cover them with plenty of filtered water. Over medium heat, bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overcook the lentils. 
  2. While the lentils cook, grate the garlic into a large mixing bowl. Add a large pinch of salt (enough to flavor all of the lentils), pepper, the vinegars, oregano, and mustard. Whisk everything together, then whisk in the oil. Taste for seasoning and make any necessary adjustments. Set it aside.
  3. Once the lentils are fully cooked, drain them and toss them in the bowl with the vinaigrette.
  4. Add the artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, and scallions. Toss everything together and transfer the mixture to a serving bowl. Garnish with feta and serve immediately.

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