This, people, this gorgeous lentil salad is the thing you’ll want to eat for lunch all week long. It’s beautiful, portable, flavorful. And beyond easy to make. And, I should say, customizable — start with the base of hearty French lentils and add whatever you fancy. Just don’t futz with the dressing. The dressing makes it.
This lovely lentil salad recipe is part of The Findlay Market Cookbook, courtesy of Joanne Drilling (chef, editor, mom, colleague). The dressing is remarkable: full of warm spices that wrap around the toothsome lentils and hang out with tangy Feta cheese. Don’t be offput by the list of spices in the dressing recipe; just go to Dean’s Mediterranean Market or Colonel De’s at Findlay Market and buy fresh spices, in exactly the amounts called for.
Add a handful of arugula or spinach. Some goat cheese or Feta. Cherry tomatoes. Or don’t, your call. Have it as a side for dinner tonight, then lunch on it for the next couple of days.
Joanne Drilling's lentil salad with spiced vinaigrette recipe
2 1/4 cups duPuy lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup dried currants
1/4 cup capers (in brine), drained
2 cups shredded carrot
Salt and freshly ground pepper
for the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup good extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Indian curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Place the lentils in a large saucepan and cover with 3–4 inches of water; add a generous pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, about 15–20 minutes. Taste the lentils after 15 minutes and be sure they're al dente and not mushy. Rinse the lentils under cold water to stop the cooking; drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the shallot, currants, capers and carrot. In a jar with a lid, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients; shake well to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over the lentil salad and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Optional add-ins: crumbled Feta cheese, roughly chopped arugula or spinach, toasted nuts, fresh herbs, any cooked seasonal vegetables