Lemony Lentil Salad

Lemony Lentil Salad

We have been having absolutely spectacular weather these past few weeks! Last weekend was maybe a bit warm for my liking, especially with the high humidity. Luckily, the humidity has eased off and the warm weather has stuck around. I think it’s safe to say that summer has finally arrived in the lower mainland.

I was looking through my pantry and noticed that I had quite a few jars of lentils – okay, two to be exact. They were just sitting there, staring back at me. I knew that I needed to do something with them, but what? I have a few lentil soup recipes which are great for dreary winter days. Decidedly not the type of weather we’ve been experiencing lately.

I’m always on the look out for a good salad to accompany a meal, or even as the main dish. So, I decided to modify a soup recipe, and played on the lemon theme a bit. I grilled the veggies specifically for this recipe, but it would be equally yummy if you used left over grilled veggies. Also, I would recommend using lemon thyme if you can find it. It subtly reinforces the lemon flavour from the lemon juice and zest.

This salad would be great served with chicken, fish, or all on its own. You can make it a full meal by adding in some feta (sorry DH, I meant to do this for yours, maybe next time) or adding in some left over chicken.

I’m planning on having a picnic tonight in the park to celebrate the start of the Canada Day long weekend. This salad just might be making an appearance 😀

To make my Lemony Lentil Salad, you will need…

  • 1 cup of dried, green lentils
  • 1 medium red pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • ½ medium red onion, quartered
  • 1 TBSP of vegetable oil – I used extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP of lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP of fresh lemon thyme, roughly chopped – if you can’t find lemon thyme, you can use regular thyme
  • Lemon zest, from ½ a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Bonus ingredient: I had some left-over grilled sweet potato that I added to the recipe. This is an optional ingredient.
raw lentils, red onion, red pepper and zucchini
Simple summery flavours.

Directions

  1. Get your lentils cooking! Put a pot of water on to boil. Once the water in boiling, add the lentils and some salt to the water. Give a stir and set the pot to simmer. Stir the lentils regularly, and check how cooked they are. Once the lentils are at your desired texture, drain them and set them aside to cool.

    cooked lentils.
    The lentils are cooked. They still have a distinct shape, and aren’t too mushy. You want a bit of crunch left in them otherwise the texture of the salad will mushy.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, prep your veggies and toss them in 1 TBSP of olive oil. Add some salt and pepper if you like and toss them again.

    veggies in olive oil
    I find it nice to marinate the veggies while I’m waiting for the grill to heat up. It adds a bit of extra flavour.
  3. Heat your BBQ to a medium heat. Grill the pepper for around 8 to 10 minutes. Grill the zucchini for around 5 to 7 minutes, and the onions for around 7 to 8 minutes. You don’t want the veggies to get mushy, so keep an eye on them.

    grilled red pepper, zucchini and onion
    You can see that the veggies still have some texture to them, even though they have a nice char too. If you over cook the veggies, they’ll become mushy in the salad.
  4. Once the veggies are done cooking, remove them from the grill and set them aside to cool off.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon thyme. Add in the lentils and give everything a good stir.
  6. Once the veggies are cooled off, dice them up and add them to the salad. Give everything a good stir until it’s all nicely coated by the salad dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste, and voila! You’re done.

Enjoy 🙂

Tips

* I hadn’t cooked lentils as a stand-alone dish before – okay I had, but I messed them up royally. I usually incorporate them in a soup or stew, or use them to stretch out meat. Bon Appetit has some excellent tips on how to cook lentils. Basically, you want to treat them like you would pasta. Since this recipe is for a salad, I would recommend cooking the lentils so that they still have some crunch to them. Just a bit past being al dente.

* Yes that’s right! You’re grilling the onions too! Grilling the onions can be a bit tricky, so be sure to place the onion slices across the grills to prevent them from slipping through. The grilling makes the onions sweet, which balances the tartness of the lemon nicely. If you don’t want to grill the onions you can always fry them up.

 

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