A hint of warm, earthy cumin adds depth to this wonderfully crunchy and satisfying lentil salad. Note that the recipe calls for French lentilles du Puy. These dark green lentils are especially good for salads because they're packed with flavor and hold their shape when cooked. Common brown or green lentils may be substituted but just be careful not to overcook them, as mushy lentils do not make good salads.
Lentilles du Puy, often called "poor mans caviar," are grown in the rich volcanic soil near Le Puy en Velay in the Auvergne region of France. You can find them at specialty foods shops and some natural foods stores. Be sure they're marked with the A.O.C. (Appelation d'Origine Contrôlée) seal of approval.
For a delicious variation, try crumbling some feta cheese over top.
Recipe adapted with modifications from Jeanne Lemlin's Quick Vegetarian Pleasures.
- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 1 cup French lentilles du Puy
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 2 ribs celery, finely diced
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onions (about 1/2 a small onion)
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one large lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality
- 1 teaspoon honey
Combine lentils, chicken stock and bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer until lentils are just tender, about 25 minutes (or about 20 minutes for common lentils). Strain and let cool.
In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Add cooled lentils and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to serve.