When we make Indian food, there is always a “dal,” a super thick lentil soup or side dish. As a result, I keep lentils in my pantry pretty much all the time. Rummaging through the pantry, I found my lentils way in the back and decided that it was time to make a healthy lentil salad for lunch.
Tarragon Lentil Salad
There will be no portion quantities in this recipe because it depends greatly on how much you are making and for how many people. Like most salads, there is a base ingredient and then a little of this and a little of that.
This salad is best the day it is made as the lentils suck up all the liquid and it can get too dry and mushy.
About making a vinaigrette. I have never measured out anything to make a dressing. It is all by taste. My vinaigrettes are tart. If too tart, add a bit of water to lighten up. If you like them a bit sweeter, you can add agave nectar. Because this is a tarragon dressing, I used half of the .75 ounce packet that you get at most grocery stores.
Carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Celery, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Kalamata Olives, pitted, roughly chopped
White Balsamic Vinegar, may substitute any wine or champagne vinegar
Fresh Tarragon, roughly chopped
Shallot, small to medium-sized, diced
Cook your lentils as directed on the package with the addition of one or 2 bay leaves.
While the lentils are cooking, heat a skillet large enough to sauté your vegetables. When the pan is hot, drizzle in some olive oil, then immediately add your chopped carrots and celery. Cook until the carrots are al dente. Remove from pan and drain off any remaining oil. Set aside.
Also while lentils cook, you can make your vinaigrette. Place the diced shallot in the bowl or jar you are using to make the vinaigrette. Pour in olive oil and vinegar. The ratio of oil to vinegar I like is three parts oil to one part vinegar. Add in a dollop of Dijon mustard, powdered garlic to your liking, and the tarragon. Salt and Pepper to taste. If using a bowl, whisk it all together until emulsified. If using a jar, place the lid on the jar and shake until it is emulsified. Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking. You can make the vinaigrette several hours before so flavors meld.
Once the lentils are cooked, drain any remaining liquid and place in a large mixing bowl. Allow the lentils to cool.
When cooled, add in the cooked vegetables, olives and capers and give it a toss to blend.
Pour on your vinaigrette and lightly toss again to distribute the dressing. Taste and adjust if necessary.
It is best if served at room temperature and should be eaten the day it is made.
*Look for Bay Leaves that are a bright green and not the muted dull sage green. The more color, the better the flavor. I use Spice Islands.
Download Printable PDF Here: Tarragon Lentil Salad
#WIMG: What’s in my Glass
I would pour a glass of Chenin Blanc or a Viognier if I wanted a white wine with this salad. These wines tend to not be as tart. The tartness would fight with the vinaigrette and you do not want that to happen.
I’d pour a Southern Rhône Blend or Pinot Noir if I was looking for a red wine. I’d want a red wine that was well balanced with integrated tannins so it is not to parching in the mouth. I would stay away from a wine that had pronounced earthy flavors so it does not fight with the earthiness of the lentils. A wine that had notes of black pepper could be interesting.
That is all for now.