Sear, Simmer & Stir

Life, style & food in the District

Easter Weekend Italian Lentil Salad (And Additional Baked Goodies)

 

Oh, there was a lot of cooking this weekend! Well… the cooking took place Friday night and Saturday morning – the rest of the time, I just ate. Love these weekends.

Kent and I went to visit his family in Harrisonburg for the weekend, and as always, had quite the culinary (and libatious) experience – including an amazing meal at one of my favorite restaurants, Joshua Wilton, followed by a delicious Easter dinner at home.

To contribute to the Easter spread, I made this delicious (and incredibly seasonal and healthy) cold lentil salad, as well as a few “Easter bakery box-kets,” filled with tasty homemade goodies – like almond butter and jam cookies, banana muffins and chocolate chip cookies – to satisfy any sweet tooth.

 

 

This lentil salad turned out way better than I ever could have imagined… And luckily, it was incredibly easy to make. I found the inspiration from a traditional French lentil salad, and just put an Italian and seasonal (read: whatever was fresh and available at Whole Foods that morning) spin on it. Really, all you need to do is cook some lentils, chop some veggies and toss it all together in fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the whole salad with salt, and bon appétit! Or shall I say, buon appetito!

 

Here’s the breakdown for the lentils….

Ingredients
2 small/medium zucchini
Yellow tomatoes (about 6 small/medium tomatoes)
Red cheery tomatoes (1 quart)
Fresh mozzarella balls (a small container)
Green onion (a small bunch)
Olives

Directions

  • Cut the zucchini length-wise. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Set aside.
  • Cook 1 ½ cups of dried, black lentils with 6 cups of water. (This amount of lentils serves about 8 people, so adjust based on your party and your package instructions.) Be very careful not to cook the lentils too long – For the salad, you want them to have a bit of crunch or “bite” to them. After they are done cooking, drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water – set aside.
  • Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes, the zucchini, the olives, the green onion, two handfuls of basil (or more!) and the mozzarella. I like more “rustic” chops for this salad – nothing like taking a big bite of a fresh veggie! Add all the chopped goodies to the lentils. Then, toss the lentils and veggies with a generous drizzle of olive oil and balsamic. Taste it! Continue to add in the oil and vinegar until the salad is dressed to your taste (I used about 4 tablespoons of oil and probably 2 or 2.5 of vinegar). And don’t be hesitant to overdress! Season the salad with sea salt – Serve immediately or let the salad marinate in its dressing overnight.

And yes, all of this looks healthy… But you should have seen me on the car ride home, I was totally slummin’ it with some crack-like drugstore Easter candy – Man, sometimes there is nothing better!

Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday weekend… and many more to come!

R

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This entry was posted on April 8, 2012 by in Legumes, Main Dish, Sides, Vegan, Vegetarian.

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