Poblano peppers add a subtle, sneaky heat to this hearty lentil salad that's perfect for feeding a crowd, while grilled or broiled vegetables add tons of flavor. Remember: Lentils taste best when they're nicely seasoned, so don't be too shy with the salt.
Why It Works
- Smoked paprika and cumin add subtle spice notes while allowing the main ingredients to shine through.
- Grill the vegetables if you plan on cooking outside, or run them under the broiler if not.
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- Yield:Serves 6 to 8 as a side
- Active time: 1 hour
- Total time:1 hour 30 minutes
- 1 cup black or de Puy lentils (7.5 ounces; 200g)
- Kosher salt
- 2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound; 450g total), sliced lengthwise about 1/2 inch thick
- 1 bunch scallions (about 8 small scallions)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (75ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) ground cumin
- 2 medium Poblano peppers (about 8 ounces total)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera or smoked paprika (about 1 large pinch)
- 1/2 cup lightly packed picked cilantro leaves (about 1 handful), very roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
In a large saucepan, cover lentils with water by 2 inches and season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cook until lentils are just tender, about 25 minutes; adjust heat to maintain a low simmer. Drain well, transfer to a large serving bowl, and season with salt as needed.
In a bowl, toss zucchini and scallions with 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil and cumin. Season with salt.
Meanwhile, If Using a Grill: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set all burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.
Grill Poblanos over direct heat, turning occasionally, until blistered and charred all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer Poblanos to a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic, and set aside.
Grill zucchini over direct heat, turning once, until just tender, about 5 minutes; transfer to a work surface. Grill scallions over direct heat, turning once, until just barely softened and browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a work surface. Continue to step 8.
If Using a Broiler: Set broiler to high heat and set oven rack in top position. Set Poblanos directly on oven rack and broil, turning occasionally, until blistered and charred all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer Poblanos to a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic, and set aside.
Arrange zucchini in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil on one side only until lightly browned on top, about 10 minutes; transfer to a work surface. Arrange scallions in an even layer on the same baking sheet and broil on one side only until just barely softened and browned in spots, about 4 minutes; transfer to a work surface.
Dice zucchini, thinly slice scallions crosswise, and add to lentils. Using paper towels, rub charred skins off Poblanos, then stem and seed them. Dice Poblanos and add to lentils.
Add vinegar, smoked paprika, 1/2 cup cilantro, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Toss to combine. Season with salt. Garnish with cilantro leaves before serving warm or at room temperature.