1 cup dried green lentils (or other lentils) (Note 1 for canned)
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth (or water + 1 bouillon cube, crumbled)
1 1/2 cups water
1 large garlic clove, smashed (Note 2)
Lemon peel (about 3/4 x 2″)
1 bay leaf, dry or fresh
2 sprigs thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 rib celery, broken into 3 or 4 pieces (or just a handful of leafy fronds)
8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (Note 3)
2 cucumbers, cut into quarters then diced
1 red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup coriander / cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
3 oz feta, crumbled (or more.)
2 handfuls rocket / arugula lettuce (optional – bed for salad)
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sugar, optional
1/2 tsp salt + black pepper
Place Lentil ingredients in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes for firm (I like this) or 25 minutes for soft. DO NOT overcook and make it mushy.
Drain in a colander, pick out celery etc. Rinse VERY quickly just to remove any grit coating the lentils (don’t want to rinse away flavour.). Set aside.
Place Dressing ingredients in a jar, shake well.
Place lentils, tomato, cucumber, onion, coriander, parsley and some of the feta in a large bowl. Pour over most of the Dressing, then toss.
Place rocket lettuce on a serving platter. Pile salad on top. Drizzle over remaining Dressing and crumble over feta. Serve. (I like serving with pita bread to stuff it in)
1. This recipe can be made with any lentils except I don’t recommend red (gets too mushy, is good for curries and soups). My favourite is green because of the size and because it holds its shape well when cooked, making it perfect for salads. Adjust cook time to lentil type – start checking for doneness at 20 minutes.
Canned Lentils: Drain and rinse, the microwave briefly until warmed through. Pour over some of the dressing (hot lentils soak up flavour better), stir then leave to marinate for 1 hr+ (even overnight is fine). Then proceed with recipe (no need to make extra Dressing).
2. Smashing Garlic: Makes it burst open to release flavour into the liquid but still easy to pick out. Just use the side of your knife and press down with your palm so the garlic bursts open, slip skin off and discard.
3. You could also use 3 tomatoes but make sure you deseed them i.e. scrape out and discard watery centre, then dice. Otherwise it will make the salad soggy.
4. Storage: A rare gem that truly keeps well for 2 days. Keep rocket lettuce separate because the Dressing will make it soggy. The less Dressing on the Lentil Salad = keeps better. It would keep for longer except I never keep raw garlic longer than 48 hours for safety reasons (can cause nasty food poisoning).