I have way too many lentils sitting in my pantry. My husband brought back a giant bag of them from Bologna, Italy, and no matter how much I try to use them, there is still plenty left. So I decided to make a lentil salad with veggies, feta, hazelnuts, and a lemon vinaigrette. Sounds like a strange combination, but somehow all the ingredients come together in harmony. It makes for a great lunch or side for dinner. It’s also perfect for a picnic because you can serve it at room temperature.
When cooking lentils, your cooking time might very depending on what kind of lentils you use. If you don’t have dried lentils, you can use canned lentils (drained and rinsed) to save on cooking time.
Toasting hazelnuts in the oven makes it easier to peel the skins off. Plus they become fragrant when heated.
After cooking the lentils, I used the same pot to saute the veggies for less cleanup.
Ingredients prepped. Time to make this salad.
Toss everything together. Now you have lentil salad. Talk about healthy. Good for you food.
Cooking lentils is very similar to cooking pasta. To save on time, canned lentils (drained and rinsed) are a great substitute. Just skip the boiling step.
1 cup green or brown lentils
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup red field or bell pepper, diced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (see note below)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils, and cook until tender about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Check the package instructions. Cooking times will vary.) Drain the lentils and transfer to a serving bowl. Set aside.
Using the same pot or medium sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, red pepper, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until veggies soften. Remove pan from heat. Add the sauteed veggies to the lentils. Add the parsley, feta, and hazelnuts. Toss to combine.
To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper until blended. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: To toast hazelnuts, spread them on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. The hazelnuts will brown slightly, and the skins will become flaky making it easier to remove them.