Monday, April 2, 2012

Lemony lentils with vegetables

This week's Food Matters recipe is a cassoulet with lots of vegetables. A cassoulet is a slow-cooked casserole that originated from France. It's traditionally made with meat, white beans, and vegetables. Some recipes finish it off with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs too. See Keely's post for the original recipe here.

I was looking forward to making my first vegetarian cassoulet for dinner on Saturday night. The morning started out rainy (which would've been perfect for this dish), but by lunch it was sunny and in the high 70s. I decided I didn't want to turn on the oven or eat a warm meal, as it was a perfect night for dining on the porch. I took inspiration from the original recipe, and kept beans as the focal point.
Bittman calls for white beans, I had a whole bag of black lentils begging to be used. He uses canned tomatoes, I opted for sun-dried. He uses wine to flavor, I chose a lemon vinaigrette for the salad.
Eat over a large bed of greens for a lighter meal. Make it  heartier with the addition of goat cheese or a poached egg and a side of roasted sweet potatoes or brown rice.

Lemony lentils with vegetables
1 c black or beluga lentils*
4.5 c almost boiling water
8-10 sundried tomatoes
4 spring onions, sliced thinly
2 medium carrots, diced small
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/4 c parsley + cilantro, rinsed and minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dijion mustard
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp walnut oil
2 tbsp capers, rinsed

Rinse and sort the lentils making sure there aren't any rocks. Put into a pot and cover with the 4 cups of almost boiling water. Let simmer for 20-22 minutes over low heat.

Pour the rest of the very hot water—about half a cup—into a bowl. Add the sun-dried tomatoes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until they rehydrate.

Chop the onions, celery, carrots, and herbs while you wait on the lentils to cook. Put into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the salt, pepper, coriander, mustard, lemon juice, and walnut oil. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and mix well. Add the capers, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

When the lentils are done cooking—they should be tender, not mushy—strain, and pour into the bowl with the vegetables. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve chilled.

*Use black or beluga lentils as they'll keep their shape when cooked. Red lentils break down when cooked and will be too mushy for a bean salad.

15 comments:

Evi said...

I like the capers in there, definitely wouldn't have thought of that!

Lena Mumenthaler said...

I love your take on this, sounds like a great summer salad.

Margarita said...

Wow, this is so creative! Love filling salads like this.

Eileen said...

Beautiful! I love lentil salads. :) I wonder how this would work with some finely chopped hard-boiled egg on top? Or maybe a variation with sauce gribiche...

Alyssa @ Everyday Maven said...

I really love salads like this - great twist on the challenge!

Casey said...

This is certainly a great salad - a good way to use lentils.

Gracie said...

Mmmmmm...Sound good. I need more ideas for lentils!

Aura Caplett said...

Looks wonderful--I love lentil salads and anything with lentils, for that matter. Going to make lentil hummus today!

Courtney J said...

Lentils, sun dried tomatoes and a lemon dressing? Sounds absolutely perfect! :)

Cookie + Kate said...

We hit 90 degrees on Sunday and I couldn't bear the thought of turning on the oven and eating a hot dish. Your lentils look like the perfect solution!

adrienne yancey said...

Thanks for all your comments! Glad you like the lentil salad :)

Kaitlin (TheGardenGrazer) said...

LOVING these ingredients! Wow does this look good :)

Ana said...

What an interesting variation. I love how you were able to totally revamp the dish, but stuck to a lot of the core ingredients. Well done.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this great recipe! i made this for dinner tonight and used olive oil instead of walnut oil because that's what i had. also used sundried tomatos in olive oil because that's what i had. and i added some fresh lemon zest to the dressing. came out yummy! served it with hot, homemade garlic toasts.

for those that like spicy food, half a seeded, finely chopped serrano pepper might add a lot of brightness and edge.

one note: in your instructions for assembling the dressing you mention coriander, but there is no coriander in the ingredients list. i just approximated and used 1/2 tsp of coriander powder so it would layer subtly.

thanks again!

Anonymous said...

thanks for this great recipe! i made this for dinner tonight and used olive oil instead of walnut oil because that's what i had. also used sundried tomatos in olive oil because that's what i had. and i added some fresh lemon zest to the dressing. came out yummy! served it with hot, homemade garlic toasts.

for those that like spicy food, half a seeded, finely chopped serrano pepper might add a lot of brightness and edge.

one note: in your instructions for assembling the dressing you mention coriander, but there is no coriander in the ingredients list. i just approximated and used 1/2 tsp of coriander powder so it would layer subtly.

thanks again!