i was looking for something a little lighter after a last weekend’s valentine sweet-fest. i searched for a recipe with some items i had on hand; lentils, fresh marjoram, a handful of tiny and beautiful purple carrots from the farmer’s market. after a minute or two, i came across this recipe for lentil salad by alice waters. and since i was making a meal of it, i tossed in a few extras. it all added up to a much heartier winter salad that i thoroughly enjoyed. i hope you do too.
look how cute these carrots are!
be sure not to overcook your lentils–they can get mushy. you want them to be a bit al dente, like pasta, because they will continue to cook for a few minutes more while they are marinating in the vinaigrette. next time i might add a little baby spinach for color and allow it to wilt into the lentils after cooking. i topped the salad with some crumbled goat cheese and ate it while it was still warm-perfect for a cool night.
lentil salad (adapted from the art of simple food by alice waters)
1 cup lentils (French green lentils or black Beluga lentils are the best varieties to use for lentil salads because they have lots of flavor and they hold their shape when cooked.)
1/2 a small onion, left intact
i bay leaf
1 tablespoon red wine, sherry or balsamic vinegar
Fresh-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
a big handful of small carrots (try to buy with tops still attached-they seem to remain more flavorful-or from the farmer’s market).
1 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
a few glugs of olive oil
3 ounces fresh, crumbled goat cheese
a few tablespoons toasted walnuts
preheat the oven 400 degrees. trim carrots and drizzle with a few glugs of olive oil, the marjoram, salt and pepper. roast for about 20 minutes in a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides until crisp tender and sweet. set aside. (you can toast the walnuts at the same time if you need to on a separate cookie sheet but check on them every few minutes so they don’t burn-they should only take about 5 minutes, just until they’re fragrant).
while the carrots are roasting, sort and rinse the lentils. cover with water by 3 inches, add bay leaf and half an onion and bring to a boil. turn down to a simmer and cook until tender all the way through (adding more water if necessary), about 20-25 minutes. drain and place in a large bowl.
toss the lentils with the red wine vinegar, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper. let sit for 5 minutes. taste and add more salt and vinegar if needed. add the extra-virgin olive oil, roasted carrots and parsley. stir to combine.
top with fresh, crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts.