As the weather growers colder, my appetite for heartier and richer meals grows, a desire that easily leads to recipes that call for a good dose of cream and butter.
So when I came across a recipe for warm lentil salad from fellow food blogger The Smart Palate, I paused. This dish appeared at once hearty, flavorful and satisfying without the addition of cream or butter. Hallelujah! Lentils are simmered with rosemary, bay leaf and thyme, absorbing an array of fresh herbal flavors, and then combined with caramelized apples and dried currant to add a delightful texture and sweetness to the salad.
To add another dimension of texture, I threw in a handful of toasted pecans, which is optional, walnuts would also be a nice addition. This is a quick, healthy and flavorful dish, and best of all can be prepared in advance making this recipe a keeper!
Thanks so much for sharing Nancy!
WARM LENTIL SALAD WITH APPLES AND CURRANTS
(adapted from The Smart Palate)
- 1 cup dried French lentils (larger green or brown lentils would also be fine)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, plus 1 tsp minced thyme leaves (separated)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 apple, diced into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- or lemon juice
- sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)
- Rinse lentils in a sieve, and pick through to remove any pebbles or other extraneous matter. Transfer lentils to a medium sauce pan and add cold water to cover, roughly 3 - 4 cups. Add bay leaf, rosemary sprig, thyme sprig, and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer partially covered for 20 - 30 minutes, until lentils are tender but still hold their shape. Drain lentils and remove bay leaf and herb stems.
- While lentils are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute onion with a pinch of salt until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add apple and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apple pieces are tender but not falling apart.
- In a medium bowl combine lentils, onion and apple mixture, parsley, currants, and chopped thyme. Dress with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold in nuts, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.