Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Green Lentil Salad with Baby Spinach and Goat Cheese

The inspiration for this dinner began when I came across David Lebovitz's post about authentic French Puy lentils ("the caviar of lentils"), a wonderful pantry staple for quick sides and light meals. French green lentils (especially the certified "de Puy" variety which are grown under specific conditions) have long been my favorite lentil for their nutty flavor and the fact that they stay whole while cooking rather than dissolving into mush. What I learned reading David's post is that all French green lentils are not necessarily "de Puy," so it's worth seeking out the real deal.

The last time I cooked green lentils here they were simmered with sausages and tossed with a balsamic-based vinaigrette to form a warm salad. Lebovitz's basic recipe prepares them simply with some sauteed root vegetables and a simple vinaigrette, but he also suggests variations such as adding hazelnuts and hazelnut oil or chopped bits of good thick bacon. Taking his cue to toss them with goat cheese, I also added some leaves of baby spinach, which wilted pleasantly in the residual heat. The result was a light, economical dinner.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. He is currently living for the year in Tartu, Estonia.

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