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Cold French Lentil Salad

Ok, so it's not really cold. More like room temp. But how nice is it not to have to warm up food. It makes entertaining so easy. The less hot food you have, the more YOU time you have. Think about all the extra things you could do with this time. My sister in law gave me this idea. We usually have a meal together once a week and she asked if she thought we could pull off an entirely room temperature/cold meal. Booya. Done.

Since then, I have been making a list of these type of dishes and adding more to my rotation. As a result, the meal as a whole began to really revolve around fresh vegetables.

About those vegetables - I really do try to use organic vegetables when I can (and when it's practical - because they cost so much more money.) Also, by using organic you're almost ensuring that your food is non-gmo. I really think there is merit to this idea. If you want to learn more about non-gmo food take a look here - http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/

Anyway, back to the lentils. It tastes great and is perfect at room temp. Could be a salad or could be a side - you choose.

(P.S. - I just noticed you can see my reflection in the rim of the annie glass. peek-a-boo)

Cold French Lentil Salad

1 cup brown lentils (I prefer "pardina" or "de puy" - they keep their shape better and don't get mushy)

1 1/2 cups cold water

2 teaspoons salt

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs thyme

2 shallots or 1/2 cup Vidalia or Spanish onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and diced small

2 large celery stalks, diced small

2 teaspoons thyme, chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt

black pepper

Dressing:

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt

black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Rinse the lentils and pick through them to make sure there are no small stones or twigs. Put in a medium pot with the water, salt, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. After 15 minutes, taste for doneness. You do not want the lentiils to be too al dente, but you don't want too mushy either. Keep tasting every 4 minutes till its tender. Drain any excess water in a strainer and let it air dry in the strainer for an additional 20 minutes. Make sure to remove the bay leaves and thyme stems.

Heat a large sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and garlic and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 4 minutes. Add the carrot, celery and thyme with the last tablespoon of oil and another sprinkle of salt. Add a sprinkle of (fresh) black pepper. Turn off the flame.

Add the lentils to the pan and toss everything together so the lentils are really coated with the vegetable mixture.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the Dijon, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil drop by drop to form a cohesive emulsified dressing. Dress the lentils 30 minutes before serving.

NOTE:

If you are preparing the lentils the day before make sure to take them out of the fridge 1 1/2 - 2 hours before serving so it isn't too cold when you are ready to eat.

#salads #glutenfree