March 31, 2013

Lentil Salad with Fennel, Almonds and Lemon Vinaigrette

Note: The recipe for this salad can also be found in the current issue of our excellent community newspaper, The Southwest Journal.  

Lentils are easy, healthy and great in salads. You could serve this for a main course or a side. It has slices of crisp and bright fennel - a vegetable that makes spring seem closer - crunchy almonds, creamy goat cheese and one of my favorite vinaigrettes (which contains no vinegar). 

Lentil Salad with Fennel, Almonds and Lemon Vinaigrette

Serves 4 

1 cup lentils (french green or black hold up best for salads)
1 medium fennel bulb
½ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (optional)

Lemon Vinaigrette

Makes about half-cup

2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼  teaspoon pepper

Cook lentils according to package directions or go here, drain and set aside in a large bowl. 

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Spread sliced almonds on sheet pan and toast in oven until lightly browned and fragrant (about 10 minutes).  Slice fennel bulb as thinly as possible using mandoline or serrated knife. Chop 1 tablespoon of the lacy fronds.

Make vinaigrette: Whisk lemon juice with Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Add olive oil while whisking to emulsify. 

Pour half of vinaigrette, fennel and toasted almonds over warm lentils and toss gently. Add more dressing as needed (warm lentils will absorb some). Sprinkle with fennel fronds and cheese (optional). Serve warm or at room temperature. 
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