French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese

french-lentil-salad

I just love this salad of French green lentils, crunchy vegetables and creamy goat cheese.  I make it when I get fed up with hasty on-the-go lunches, and crave something wholesome and delicious to nourish my spirit.  Amazing how good food can do that.

The beauty of lentils is that, unlike dried beans, they don’t require pre-soaking prior to being cooked.  You simply pick over the little disk shaped legumes, remove any that look broken or damaged and cook for 20-30 minutes.  So easy.

This recipe calls for French green lentils, which are ideal for salads because they hold their shape when cooked.  They’re grown in the rich volcanic soil near Le Puy en Velay in the Auvergne region of France and have a wonderful earthy flavor.  You can find them in the bulk section at Whole Foods or specialty food shops. They’re definitely worth going out of your way to find but if you can’t get them, common green or brown lentils will work fine — just watch the cooking time as they can get mushy.

Begin by combining the lentils, chicken broth and bay leaf in a pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25-30 minutes until tender.

In the meantime, prep all the vegetables and herbs.  You want to cut them pretty small so you get the right proportion of lentils and vegetables in every bite.

For the carrots and celery, the best way is to cut them into thin strips first, then line them up and cut again.

When the lentils are tender, strain and let cool.

Combine everything except the goat cheese in a bowl and toss well.

Right before serving, top with crumbled goat cheese.

Serve and enjoy.


French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese

Serving Size: 2 as main course, 4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 cup French green lentils (or common brown or green lentils)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Lucini or Colavita
  • 2-3 ounces goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Combine lentils, chicken broth and bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer until lentils are tender, 25-30 minutes for French green lentils or 20-25 minutes for common brown or green lentils. Remove bay leaf, strain and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except goat cheese. Add cooled lentils and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer salad to serving dish, crumble goat cheese over top and serve.