It all started with a container of stunning multi-colored grape tomatoes. I ate a handful raw and considered eating the rest the same way, calling it dinner (maybe some garlic-rubbed toasted bread would make an appearance). But my guide was this recipe from Sprouted Kitchen, which instructed me to spread the rest of the tomatoes out on a sheet pan to roast, shrink, and concentrate until as sweet as candy. Which, I had to admit, also sounded pretty tasty.
Roasting tomatoes to concentrate their flavor is something I often do to improve tomatoes that aren't the best quality. But doing so with perfect tomatoes has an even more dramatic effect. Tucked into a sea of lentils coated in Dijon, goat cheese, olive oil, and herbs, they taste like everything you wish a sun-dried tomato would be with none of the bitterness. Sweet, salty, and tangy all at the same time.
While you could easily spread this salad out over some greens or a bed of baby spinach, serving it in a pita was sort of fun, and the perfect meal to eat outside.
- 5 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic or garlic salt
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups French green lentils, rinsed
- 2/3 cup goat cheese
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 large shallots, peeled and sliced thin
- 2/3 cup chive, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup basily, finely chopped
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 4 pitas, cut in half and toasted
Preheat oven to 325°F. Toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil, along with the granulated garlic and salt to taste. Spread them out on a baking sheet, cut side up, and roast until shrunken, sweet, beginning to brown but not burned, about 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
In the meantime, bring 4 cups water to boil in a large saucepan and add the lentils. Over medium heat, simmer the lentils, covered, until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes. If necessary, add more water to completely cook them until tender.
Drain any excess water from the lentils, then add the goat cheese, lemon zest and juice, and Dijon mustard. Fold gently to melt the goat cheese and season to taste with salt (it will need plenty).
While the lentils cool, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium in a medium skillet until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook until brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.
Fold the herbs, tomatoes, and remaining olive oil into the lentils. Season with pepper, then taste and season as necessary with salt and/or more lemon juice. Serve in toasted pita halves.