This lentil salad with feta mint dressing is a substantial salad that makes an excellent lunch. The lentils and feta contribute protein and fat. This salad is great in the fall and is made especially fresh by the addition of grated raw beets and carrots, arugula, spinach, and mint.
I adapted the dressing recipe from The Chopping Block. The recipe came from a cooking class, entitled “Food and Wine of the Mediterranean”. The dressing was originally meant to be served on grilled shrimp and grape tomato skewers, and contained dill instead of mint. It is obviously a great dressing for grilled shrimp, but I thought substituting the mint would make it an excellent dressing for the lentils. By the way, if you ever get a chance, take a cooking class at The Chopping Block in Chicago. Their classes are a ton of fun!
If you are not into the grated raw carrots and beets, you can change the character of this salad by substituting roasted carrots and beets, which are just as good with the lentils.
To roast the carrots and beets: 1) Dice the carrots and beets into 1 inch pieces. 2) Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. 3) Roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
If you are planning on taking this lentil salad with feta mint dressing to work for lunch, I would recommend assembling all of the vegetables and the lentils and not dressing the salad until just before serving.
|1 cup||dried green lentils (French Le Puy)|
|freshly ground black pepper|
|2||red bell peppers|
|4||carrots, peeled and grated|
|2||small red beets, peeled and grated|
|5 ounces||baby spinach and arugula salad mix (one container)|
|3 Tbs||red wine vinegar|
|1/3-1/2 cup||extra virgin olive oil|
|1 Tbs||finely chopped fresh mint|
|1/3 cup||crumbled feta cheese|
|freshly ground black pepper|
- Sort through lentils and remove any stones. Rinse lentils and put into a medium-sized pot. Cover with 1 quart of cold water and bring to a boil.
- Add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Reduce the heat and simmer until lentils are tender but still firm enough to hold their shape, about 25 minutes.
- Drain the lentils and remove the onion, garlic and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the vinegar and shallot together. Add a pinch of salt and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. This will sweeten the shallot.
- Mix honey into vinegar and shallot. Drizzle in the oil while whisking to create an emulsion. Stir in the mint and feta cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To assemble salad, place about ½ cup of cooked lentils on top of a bed of spinach and arugula. Add ¼ of the diced red bell peppers, and grated beets and carrots.
- Toss the salad with approximately ¼ cup of dressing (or to your liking). Serve immediately.
- Note: if you would like to prepare this salad ahead of time and eat it later, set the dressing aside and toss the salad with dressing immediately before serving. The lentils, spinach/arugula, and vegetables can be stored together in the refrigerator for a few days.