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
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.
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.