Warm Lentil Salad

lentil salad copyThere have been a lot of lentils on this blog lately (and one more lentil recipe is coming up).  While we’re not vegetarians, Forrest and I do tend to eat vegetarian most of the time.  It’s less expensive (we are graduate students, after all), the basic ingredients– like beans and lentils– are often non-perishable, and vegetarian meals allow us to get a little more creative with ingredients and flavors.  I made this salad a few weeks ago to take to my department’s annual beginning-of-the-semester party.  It’s an event where graduate students and faculty members get together to socialize and catch up after the summer away from school.  Obviously, it’s a little nerve-wracking to present food to your colleagues and bosses (isn’t that what faculty members are to graduate students, technically)?  These kind of events require dishes that are sophisticated without looking like you’re trying too hard.  This salad does all of that– the flavors are complex, the colors are interesting and appealing, and it’s easy to whip up the evening of a party or get-together.  Bonus: the leftovers make great lunches!

Warm Lentil Salad
  1. 2 cups lentils
  2. 2 cups chicken broth
  3. 1-2 cups water
  4. cayenne pepper
  5. cumin
  6. 3 peppers, diced (I used a red, a green, and an orange pepper)
  7. 1 onion, diced
  8. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  9. about 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped or torn
  10. 2 large handfuls spinach, roughly chopped or torn
  11. 10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved.
  12. feta cheese
  1. Combine lentils, chicken broth, and water in a medium saucepan. Add about 1/2-1 tsp cayenne and a tablespoon of cumin (more or less according to your preference. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender (about 15 minutes). Drain when done.
  2. Drizzle olive oil into a skillet and set over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until tender. You may want to add more cumin and cayenne here (I did, and it was delicious)-- again, do this according to your own taste preferences (I added just a shake of cayenne and about a teaspoon of cumin). Add the diced peppers and cook until they begin to soften. Add chopped parsley.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the lentils, the pepper mixture (and juices from the skillet), spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese. Serve warm.
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