During my first job out of college, I went through a major lentil obsession. I packed the same lentil recipe for lunch almost every single day, and somehow didn’t get tired of the monotony until several months later. What kept me so loyal to these little legumes was not only their delicious taste and texture, but also that they kept me so full throughout the afternoon – there’s nothing worse that having your stomach growl throughout a slow day at work! I still love lentils, but have started to branch out in how I cook them. Lentils are such a wonderful food for vegetarians especially, as they are packed with protein, iron and fiber. Red lentils are fantastic in Indian dishes, while French (also known as Puy) lentils are wonderful in things like warm salads and soups. This French lentil salad has quickly become one of my favorite ways to enjoy lentils.
This salad is one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make. You simply cook the lentils, whip up the dressing, and add the chopped hazelnuts and thinly sliced endive. I love making a big batch of this and then bringing it into work, as it packs quite well and can be served hot or cold. Its got a wonderful combination of flavors, too: the endive adds a nice subtle bitterness, which is balanced out by the sweet hazelnuts and honey dressing. The soft lentils soak up all of the lovely flavors of the dressing and are the perfect contrast to the crunchy endive and hazelnuts. The salad goes to show that it’s often the simplest recipes we end up loving the most!
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 1.5 cups water
- ⅓ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 head of Belgian red endive, thinly sliced
- For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons hazelnut oil or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1.5 teaspoons honey
- Pinch of salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Add the lentils and water to a medium pot. Cover the pot and cook on medium until all of the water has absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. The lentils should be soft but still have their shape.
- In the meantime, whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Once the lentils are finished, add the hazelnuts, endive and dressing and toss well. Season with additional salt and pepper, and serve either warm or cold.
Note: the hazelnut oil makes this dressing really stand out. It has a light nutty flavor that pairs so well with the lentils. If you cannot find it, olive oil is fine to use instead.