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Lentils and Mozzarella Caprese From 'Feast'

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[Photograph: Yunhee Kim]

According to Sarah Copeland, caprese salad doesn't always need to include tomatoes and basil. Whether or not we take that as indisputable truth, it would be impossible not to enjoy her four seasonal variations on the salad in her new cookbook, Feast. Each salad uses mozzarella as a link to the classic. There are peas in the spring, beets in the fall, tomatoes (of course) in summer, and lentils in this winter version. The legumes are simmered with carrots, celery, and garlic; studded with bocconcini and pine nuts; and then drizzled with an herby vinaigrette. Served warm or cool, it's a fine side dish or snack, even if it isn't a classic caprese.

Why I picked this recipe: Lentil salads are one of my wintertime staples, but I'd never had one with mozzarella.

What worked: Much like yesterday's salad, this dish is an example of simplicity done right. I especially liked the way the earthy lentils were countered by the creamy, cool mozzarella.

What didn't: Nothing.

Suggested tweaks: You can use any herbs you'd like here. I used mostly parsley with a little bit of mint thrown in. Walnuts would also work well in place of the pine nuts.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Feast to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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