Lentil Salad Recipe and Wine Pairing

This is the lentil salad recipe to prepare for people who think they don’t like lentils! Not only that, the dish lends itself to either a casual evening or dinner party fare.

I first prepared this when some friends were coming to dinner and I wanted each course to complement the Pinot Noirs we’d be pouring that night. Lentils have a bit of an earthy quality which make them a wonderful pairing for Pinot. Although our friends aren’t typically fans of this legume they were willing to give my preparation a try. To their surprise and delight, they enjoyed this lentil salad. They’ve even requested it at following dinners!

The thing is, people often experience overcooked lentils in a state of mush and consider them dry. To avoid that, this lentil salad recipe calls for French lentils also known as Puy lentils or green lentils. The cooking time is shorter than for other preparations in order to ensure they stay firm. By dressing the lentils while still warm, they absorb some of it. The result is a flavorful salad that is neither mushy nor dry.

Lentil Salad Ingredients

1 cup French Lentils
2 cups water

1-2 carrots peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 green onions

Dressing Ingredients
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove minced garlic (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Prepare the lentils by combining the lentils and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover pan. Simmer lentils about 15 minutes until tender but not too soft. Strain and put into large bowl.

Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and whisk together or toss them in a jar and shake it up.

Pour the dressing over the lentils and add carrots, bell pepper, and green onions. Toss to combine.

When presenting this at a dinner party, I make extra dressing and toss it with some spinach. On a serving platter, the spinach gets plated up making a nice bed for the rest of the salad. The lentil mixture can then be mounded on top of the spinach. This looks lovely when delivered to the table. By serving it family style, guests are able to take as much or as little as they choose.

Makes approximately 2 main dish servings or 4 salad course servings.

plated lentil salad

Lentil Salad Wine Pairing

As mentioned previously, Pinot Noir is a great dinner partner for this lentil salad.

Are you thinking you’d rather pour a white wine? No problem! The Dijon mustard in the dressing creates a nice complement to Chardonnay. Or top the lentil salad with some goat cheese and pour a Sauvignon Blanc.

Chilled Cherry Soup Recipe and Wine Pairing

When the temperature soars, the last thing you want to do is turn on the stove or oven. I get it! This chilled cherry soup recipe is the perfect solution. It’s so easy to prepare. Just whir the ingredients in a food processor or blender and dinner is ready!

This particular soup graces our table several times during cherry season. Even though it’s a chilled fruit based dish, it has a rich quality to it. Or perhaps it just seems that way due to the opulent deep pink color.

Ingredients

1/2 cup almonds
1 cup fresh pitted cherries
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons raspberry vinegar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
Good quality extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Preparation

In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground. Add all remaining ingredients to the food processor. Process until pureed. I find this makes a nice thick soup, but should you prefer a lighter consistency, add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water. Chill and serve the cherry soup ice cold. Drizzle with quality extra virgin olive oil for extra richness if desired. This makes about 4 appetizer portions, or two entrée sized portions.

Optional: serve each bowl of chilled cherry soup with a crostini topped with goat cheese.

Chilled summer soup

Cherry Soup Wine Pairing

It’s always a little tricky pairing a fruit dish with wine. The natural sweetness from the cherries can make some wines come across as a little bitter, even if they’re not. To avoid that, we look for a fruit forward rosé for this cherry soup recipe. I know you might be afraid of “sweet” wines, but the wines considered slightly sweet (aka off-dry) make a great match. Sparkling rosé is worth considering too. It’s not just for special occasions!

One wine we particularly enjoy with this soup is the Davenport Cellars Rosé of Sangiovese. This semi-dry wine (that means during fermentation just a teensy bit of sugar – also known in wine speak as residual sugar or RS – was left behind) comes from Washington State and is a beautiful magenta color brimming with fruity raspberry flavors. The fruit is sourced from the acclaimed Ciel du Cheval Vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA, making it an incredible value at $18 a bottle. Go ahead. Drink pink.

Berry Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Sauces are one of the great ways to create a bridge and connect a wine with food. So, if you favor chicken over red meat, this barbecue sauce is a great way to make that bird pair with a red wine! It’s also great with most anything off the grill.

Until I began working at a winery, I had never heard of tayberries. My first encounter was when the winemaker had used “notes of tayberry” as a descriptor in his tasting notes for a Syrah. “Seriously?” I thought, “Who the heck is going to know what a tayberry is?” Doing a little Googling, I learned that it is a cross between a red raspberry and a blackberry. Then I saw them available at my neighborhood farmers market. Eager to experience the taste of the tayberry for myself, I had to purchase some! The color of dark raspberries, but more similar in size and shape to blackberries, these sweet, colorful conveyors of juicy goodness have become one of my most anticipated fruits of the summer. Continue reading “Berry Barbecue Sauce Recipe”