French lentils, or lentilles de puy are my favorite lentils. Which sounds like kind of a snotty thing to say, probably because they're French and, let's face it, having a favorite lentil is kind of ridiculous. Anyway, French lentils stay firmer once they're cooked and tend to stay more intact than some of the other lentil varieties so they're great for salads. I can't always get French lentils, but I found these at Target and immediately envisioned a citrusy, salty lentil salad.
Here's what you'll need:
- 3 cups of stock
- 1 1/2 cups of French lentils
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed and chopped into pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 - 1 cup crumbled feta
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
Put your stock on the stove with the bay leaf, cover and bring to a boil. Add your lentils, garlic and onion, recover and let simmer for about 20 minutes (these lentils take a little longer than your standard green lentils and they take a little more liquid). When your lentils are just a touch short of done, toss the asparagus in the top of the pan to steam for about 3-5 minutes, until the asparagus is bright green and warm all the way through.
When the lentils are tender, remove from heat, drain through a mesh strainer if any residual liquid remains and remove the bay leaf. Let the lentils cool (or put them in the freezer for a few minutes if you're impatient like me). Add your parsley, lemon, olive oil, feta and spices, tasting as you go. It would be delicious to add grapefruit supremes to this salad as well (though they might not be delicious in the leftover remix that comes next, so just add them to the top of the salad).
So, lentil salad is great, but it's not really a meal. So a couple days after I made the salad, I pulled the leftovers out of the fridge and decided to make lentil falafel.
What you'll need:
- Oven pre-heated to 350 degrees
- an oven-safe frying pan
- a food processor or blender
- olive oil 4 Tbs. separated
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs (use gluten free bread crumbs, if you have an allergy)
- 1 egg
- greek yogurt
- leftover chimichurri
Put about 2 cups of your lentil salad into the food processor. Add the breadcrumbs, egg and 2 Tbs. olive oil. Pulse until you have a chunky paste. Form the paste into 1/4 cup-sized patties (I just used a spoon and my hands) and then put them in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to set. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. of olive oil in the pan on the stove. Once the oil is hot, place the patties in the pan, taking care not to overcrowd. You want to get them nice and crispy brown on both sides, then pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes to make sure they've heated and set all the way through.
Once your patties are done in the oven, mix up about 1/4 cup Greek yogurt with 2 Tbs of leftover chimichurri. I served my sauce on a bed of arugula with lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper.