Posted by: Hil | September 4, 2009

Italian Lentil Salad

CIMG2770

This salad is one of my favorite things to eat in the whole world.  I got the recipe from an episode of Everyday Italian.  Giada’s food isn’t normally to my taste, but I owe some of my all time favorite recipes to her.  When Giada gets it into her head to cook something healthy, she always knocks it out of the park.  Rich and decadent are not words normally used to describe bean salad, but the sweet grapes, toasty hazelnuts and beautiful colors make this salad a real delight to eat. 

I’ve been eating this salad all week long, and there’s something so intensely satisfying about it.  I even woke up craving it at breakfast time this morning–that’s how good it is.

Giada’s original recipe involves cucumber.  I’ve made it with and without the cucumber.  I find that the cucumber makes for a lighter, more cooling salad, but doesn’t really add anything essential in terms of flavor or texture.  When I eat this salad for a main dish, I prefer to omit the cucumber for a more energy dense version.  I also prefer the salad with somewhat less bell pepper…the grapes and nuts are the stars, for me. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lentils (I recommend French lentils, name of the salad notwithstanding)
  • 2 scallions, chopped (or Italian parsley) 
  • 1 cup halved seedless green grapes
  • 1 cup halved seedless red grapes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped skinned and toasted hazelnuts (or more…the hazelnuts make the dish)
  • juice and zest of 1-2 lemons
  • extra virgin olive oil 
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Cook lentils until they are tender, but not mushy:  about 18 to 20 minutes in salted boiling water.  Drain and cool.  Alternately, you can buy precooked French lentils in vaccuum packs at Trader Joe, which really cuts down on the prep time for this salad.  Combine all of the ingredients.  If possible, let the salad sit for an hour or so to let the flavors marry.  Serve cold or room temperature.

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Responses

  1. Wow I never would have thought of adding grapes and lentils! I love it.

  2. I’m with Hangry – I would never have thought of a combo like this but it sounds delicious!

  3. Lentils are one of the only beans I like 🙂 Grapes are such a good addition!

  4. Sounds perfect!

  5. I don’t mean to be so repetitive BUT who would have ever thought of adding grapes to lentils?? LOVE it! Sounds and looks YUMMY!


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