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Vegan Lentil and Fennel Salad

Vegan Lentil and Fennel Salad
Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Small, firm lentils such as le Puy or beluga taste best in this dish. If you can’t find those, use small green lentils instead. They will be softer but still taste good. Don’t substitute red, brown or yellow lentils; they ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, largely unattended | Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 pound small lentils, preferably le Puy or beluga, rinsed and drained
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, washed well and cut into thin half-moons
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup sherry or balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup chopped dill

Step 1Pick the fronds off the fennel and reserve for garnish. Thinly slice the stalks and reserve the bulbs.

Step 2Combine the lentils, celery, onion, leeks, carrots, sliced fennel and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender, about 45 minutes. If the water absorbs fully before the lentils are cooked through, add more.

Step 3Drain the lentils if needed, then transfer to a large bowl and add the vinegar, oil, mustard and dill. Fold until evenly coated, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Step 4Halve the fennel bulbs, core and thinly slice. Scatter over the salad, along with the reserved fennel fronds. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

Note: Make ahead: The lentil salad without the sliced fennel can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Top with the fennel right before serving.

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