Remember the French green lentils with walnuts and goat cheese? Remember how I said an online reviewer suggested swapping the goat cheese, walnuts, and parsley for Parmesan, pine nuts, and basil? Yeah, we totally did that.
And holy mother of entirely new recipes. It completely changed the taste, and in my opinion, it was for the better. B liked both equally, but I am a much bigger fan of this one. The fresh basil just gives it such a bright flavor, and how can you not love toasted pine nuts and Parmesan? For real, the stork dropped me off in the wrong country; I'm supposed to be Italian. Give me ALL the basil.
Anyway. If you hesitated on making this recipe before because it just didn't sound like your kind of thing, try it this way first. It's phenomenal. It's real food. And it's sustainable. Win, win, win.
E & B
lentil salad with Parmesan, basil, and pine nuts
for the lentils:
1 1/2 cups French green lentils
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs thyme (we used fresh)
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
1 rib celery, peeled and finely diced
for the dressing:
a splash of red wine vinegar
1 1/4 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil (it called for 1/3 cup, but we said no way)
1 small shallot, peeled and minced (we used a couple of cloves of garlic)
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped basil (or more - be generous with the basil!)
1 cup toasted pine nuts (we used less than this because we were finishing up a bag)
a generous handful of shaved or shredded Parmesan (not the powdered stuff)
Rinse the lentils and place in a saucepan with plenty of lightly salted water, the bay leaf, and the thyme.
Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
Add the finely diced vegetables and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the lentils are tender; be careful not to overcook them.
While the lentils are cooking, make the dressing.
Mix the vinegar, salt, mustard, oil, and shallot in a large bowl.
Drain the lentils well and mix them into the dressing while still warm, stirring to coat the lentils.
Remove the bay leaf and thyme and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Add a few grinds of black pepper and mix in the basil, chopped nuts, and Parmesan.
Taste, and add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
The salad can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Let it come to room temperature before serving; it may need to be re-seasoned once refrigerated.
Not as good as you'd expect. The lentils, pine nuts, and Parmesan pack a lot of calories. The recipe says it makes four servings, but we estimated more like six. If you go with six, and with our modifications, it's 365 calories per serving. Counting calories is important, yes, but eating real food is perhaps even more important. So have a serving of these lentils guilt-free.
Recipe adapted from My Paris Kitchen, by David Lebovitz.