Versatile, healthy, and delicious, this hearty lentil salad is a wonderful recipe to add to your repertoire. Mr. Beard suggests serving as a buffet side dish with ham. It would also be wonderful over greens as a main course, or with salmon, grilled leg of lamb, or deviled eggs. For a more robust tasting olive oil experience, use California Olive Ranch Miller’s Blend or Arbosana oils to prepare this dish. A drizzle of California Olive Ranch Limited Reserve oil on top of the salad would be fabulous.
- 1 pound (about 2 1/4 cups) brown lentils, rinsed
- 1 medium yellow onion stuck with 2 whole cloves
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup California Olive Ranch Arbequina extra virgin olive oil
- 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces bacon
- 1 1/2 cups frozen edamame or petite green peas, thawed and cooked in boiling water and drained
- 1 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley (about 1 medium bunch, including flavorful stems)
- 1 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts
To prepare the lentils: Fill a large saucepan 3/4 with water, add the onion stuck with cloves, garlic, bay leaf, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and heat to boiling.
Add the drained lentils and cook uncovered, occasionally stirring gently, until lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 2: While the lentils are cooking, cut the bacon into 1/2 inch lengths and cook until crisp. Drain and cool. Break into coarse crumbled pieces and set aside.
Step 3: When the lentils are done cooking, drain and discard the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Transfer the lentils to a large serving bowl. While the lentils are still warm add the olive oil, vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper and gently stir to blend.
Step 4: Add the edamame (or peas), parsley, and scallions to the lentils and toss to combine. This salad improves if it is allowed to stand for an hour or so. Taste before serving and add more oil and vinegar if desired. Garnish with the bacon before serving.
Recipe adapted by Beard award winning cookbook author Marie Simmons from “The Essential James Beard Cookbook” (St. Martin’s Press. 2012). Photo courtesy of Stephanie Hua of LickMySpoon.com.