Warm French Green Lentil Salad

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  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, whole or coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, whole leaves or coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, whole leaves or coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or brown sugar (optional)
  • 2 to 3 ounces feta or chèvre cheese, for garnish (optional)
  • Pan-seared slices of fennel bulb, for garnish (optional)


Rinse lentils and place in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover lentils by 2 to 3 inches. Salt the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature, cover the pan and cook lentils, stirring occasionally, until are al dente — tender but not pureed. This will take about 20 minutes. Drain lentils (don’t rinse ) and allow to cool slightly.

While lentils are cooking, toss cauliflower with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Place under the broiler until lightly caramelized.

Toss lentils with the cauliflower, spinach, parsley, basil and pistachios.

Combine shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes in a heat-proof metal or glass bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup oil over medium heat, until the surface begins to move. Carefully pour oil over shallot mixture in the bowl. It should sizzle a bit. Immediately add vinegar, Dijon mustard or brown sugar, salt and pepper. Add the dressing to lentils while still warm.

Garnish with feta and seared fennel slices, if desired.

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