Lentils are one of my favorites when it comes to beans. They are so versatile and add such great taste and texture to a wide variety of dishes. Of course, lentil soup is always a good choice, but I also like to make lentil salads. Lentil salad is a great summertime dish because you can serve them warm, room temperature or cold and they still taste great. I came across this recipe from The Kitchn not that long ago for a simple cold lentil salad with cucumbers and olives to give it a bit of a Mediterranean flair. you can make this one pretty quickly and it goes well with all kinds of dishes.
Cold Lentil Salad with Cucumbers and Olives
2 cups lentils
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium cucumbers, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 cup ricotta or feta cheese (optional)
Combine the lentils, smashed garlic and the bay leaves in a large pot and cover the ingredients with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the water and remove the smashed garlic cloves and the bay leaves and discard them. Refrigerate the lentils until they are cold, at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
While the lentils are chilling, make the vinaigrette for the salad. In a small bowl, whisk together the whole grain mustard, the salt and the sherry vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking the mixture constantly as you add the oil, until the dressing has emulsified.
Combine the chilled lentils, the cucumbers, the Kalamata olives and the mint in a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the lentil salad and toss everything to evenly coat all of the ingredients. Dot the top of the salad with ricotta or feta cheese, if using, just before you serve the salad.
That’s all there is to this salad and it tastes great. I love the mix of the cucumbers, olives and lentils and the vinaigrette has great flavor to it thanks to the mustard and the sherry vinegar. I have found that the salad actually gets better in flavor over a couple of days, though if you are going to add the mint to it you should add just enough to what you are serving so it does not go limp when you store it and lose some of its flavor. I did not use the cheese on my salad as I didn’t have either kind on hand, but I think the feta would add a nice touch to the overall flavor of the dish.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!