Do you have a recipe Achilles heel… ? My weakness is non-vegetable sides. I blame it on the potatoes from my CSA—who needs “spicy rice” if they have bags (and bags) of potatoes in the basement? So when I signed up to participate in the Wisconsin Whisk All Whisked Up recipe challenge, I decided to confront my weakness and make a dish of Warm French Lentils from the blog Bowen Appetit.
My real pet peeve with sides is that they often come up short in the flavor department. But blogger Bowen Close assured her readers that this recipe was designed to be a lesson in boosting flavor. When I learned that she has also done catering and teaches cooking I knew I had reason to be optimistic.
Another thing that appealed to me is that this combines a form of legume (lentils) with vegetables. Healthy legumes + added vegetables practically shouts “pick me, pick me” if you are concerned about health. Even better if it comes together as a nice normal side to throw off any picky eaters (shhh).
The biggest challenge that I had making this was the fact that my husband and I were away at our timeshare with it’s less equipped kitchen. But it all came together without a hitch. Yes, you can drain lentils in a colander lined with paper towels… and mince with a steak knife. It was even tolerant of a few substitutions where I had a similar ingredient on hand and didn’t want to drive miles to the nearest grocery store.
Upon tasting, both my husband and I really enjoyed it (hooray, flavor!) and our only regret was not having any of our daughters around to trick into, err, share in a delicious healthy meal. That and the fact that instead of using the leftovers as a next day side, I ate them as a morning snack. Oops.
Right now my potatoes stores are dwindling, but the carrots & onions could go on until… 2018? I think Warm French Lentils is on its way to becoming a staple.
I need to confront my weaknesses more often!
[inlinkz_linkup id=592293 mode=1]
- 1 cup French Lentils (or other lentil), picked through for pebbles and rinsed
- 3 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 table spoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1-2 celery stalks, diced (or 1/2 celery root)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- A few sprigs of thyme, leaves de-stemmed
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tsp. Dijon or other non-yellow mustard
- A small handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 ounces of feta crumbles (dairy or vegan)
- Bring the lentils, water, bay leaf, and a large pinch of salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium-low, cover, and let cook until lentils are tender – about 20 minutes (may vary if another variety of lentil is used). Drain and discard bay leaf.
- Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and thyme and a large pinch or two of salt. Cook until vegetables are softened, 8-10 minutes.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Combine the drained lentils, cooked vegetables, and vinaigrette. Taste and adjust vinegar, oil, mustard, and salt as desired. Top with chopped parsley and crumbled cheese. We liked it best warm, but can also be served cold or room temperature.
- The assembled salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you want to reheat it to serve, the parsley and cheese are best added directly before serving (but can be reheated if they’re already added).
- Cabbage Roll Soup
- Homemade Italian Sausage Sandwiches