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Salads, Vegetarian

Deborah Madison's lentil salad

Deborah Madison's lentil salad
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

SO MANY things in recipes are optional. But if you live in Southern California, and you lack that bay leaf for a soup, stew or roast, it's almost criminal to cook without it. This is the one place in North ... Read more

Total time: 40 minutes | Serves 6

Lemon vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil , or more to taste

Step 1In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and zest, the paprika, cayenne, garlic and salt. Whisk in the olive oil. The dressing should be tart. Taste and adjust seasoning, oil and lemon juice.


  • 1 1/2 cups small French lentils (Puy or brown), rinsed
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced into 1/8 inch cubes
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium red bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Good quality olive oil

Step 1In a medium saucepan combine the lentils, carrot, onion, bay leaf, garlic and salt. Add enough water to cover and simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Step 2While the lentils are cooking, roast the peppers until charred on all sides. Cool and peel the charred skins. Core, seed and dice the peppers into quarter-inch squares.

Step 3Drain the lentils into a bowl, reserving the liquid if you wish.

Step 4Fold the vinaigrette into the warm lentils, followed by most of the red peppers, the parsley, marjoram and thyme. Crumble half the feta and stir it into the salad.

Step 5Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding pepper and red wine vinegar to taste. Garnish with the remaining red pepper, crumbled feta and a drizzle of olive oil.

Note: From "The Greens Cookbook." Puy lentils are at Whole Foods markets, Nicole's Gourmet Foods in South Pasadena and Monsieur Marcel at the Fairfax Farmer's Market. Brown lentils are at Trader Joe's. Make a day ahead; the flavors improve overnight.


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