Hearty Salad

When lunch time rolls around and the mercury is already rising past the comfort zone, the last thing I want to do is turn on the stove. So I don't. My course of action for days like these is to turn to hearty salads, oftentimes leftovers from a previous night's meal. And really, I can't complain when what greets me is a hearty tabbouleh in which the bulgur has been replaced by tender lentils. After all, they are some of my favorite legumes!

Beyond giving fun salads like tabbouleh more substance, using lentils also makes this a gluten free salad and, therefore, more flexible for my entertaining needs. In fact, it's rare that I don't at least double the recipe below because it's great alongside everything from steaks to chicken and it stores beautifully. So I make a lot of it, let it shine next to my favorite grilled foods, and then dig into some more of it when the weekday heat makes lunch want to be quick and simple.

When I make lentils, I usually more a bunch of them at a time too. After all, they store well in the back of the fridge and I can toss them with everything from greens to rice for a simple side dish that will eat like a meal. I like using white miso paste when making my lentils so they are nicely infused with flavor, but you can opt for salt, your favorite seasoning blend, or even some nice stock. Then toss them with your favorite produce, sprinkle them with tangy cheese, or stir them into rice and enjoy a great hearty side!

Lentil Tabbouleh

  • 1 c. lentils
  • 2 tsp. miso paste or 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 c. chopped baby spinach
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 radishes, sliced and chopped
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

Combine the lentils and miso paste or 1 teaspoon salt with 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Do not overcook — you want the lentils to keep their shape. Drain, if needed, and set aside to cool.

Place the parsley, spinach, tomato, and radishes in a large serving bowl. Set aside.

In a small resealable jar, combine the remaining ingredients (lemon juice through pepper); shake well to combine. Toss the dressing with the vegetables and the cooled lentils until the vegetables and lentils are well-coated. Chill until ready to serve.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes