1cup (225g)vegetable brothor chicken stock or broth
Fine sea salt and pepper
1/2cup (85g)coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oilNote 1
1-1/2cups (205g)chopped Persian or English cucumberNote 2
3/4cup (75g)diced red onionNote 3
1/2cup (23g)finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsleyNote 4
1/3cup (47g)crumbled feta cheese
2tablespoons (29g)red wine vinegar
2teaspoons (9g)Dijon mustarddo not use regular mustard
1/4cup (46g)olive oil
2tablespoons (32g)freshly squeezed lemon juice + 2 teaspoons lemon zest
LENTILS: Rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh sieve. Pick out any debris or shriveled lentils. Combine the rinsed lentils, vegetable/chicken broth, water, and Italian seasoning in a small pot. Season to taste. (I add 1 teaspoon fine sea salt.) Stir and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid comes to a simmer; reduce to medium-low heat and cover with a lid. Keep the lentils simmering until tender, about 20-25 minutes (check at 20 minutes). Remove from heat and strain. Rinse in cold water for 30 seconds to a minute or until fully cooled. Fully drain off any liquid and add lentils to a large bowl. Place in the fridge to continue cooling while preparing the rest of the salad.
DRESSING: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.) Cover and shake vigorously to combine. Refrigerate while preparing the rest of the salad.
SALAD: To the bowl of cooked and cooled lentils, add in the coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, diced cucumber, diced red onion, finely chopped parsley, and feta cheese.
DRESS: Add dressing to desired preference. (We add all the dressing, but you may not want it all. You may be surprised at how the lentils soak up the dressing -- it makes them extra tasty and may want to add more as it settles or stores.) Toss and add more dressing, salt, and pepper to taste.
SERVE: Serve immediately or chill for up to 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Toss well before serving -- a lot of the dressing settles to the bottom.
Note 1: Sun-dried tomatoes: These are my current favorite sun-dried tomatoes. They’re sliced (julienne cut) and packed with herbs and olive oil, and pack such a punch of flavor in this salad. I don't recommend the sun-dried tomatoes in a packet; they're too dry for this salad.Note 2: Cucumbers: I don't recommend regular cucumbers because they lack flavor and texture. They also break down more quickly which isn't ideal for this salad. Stick to English or Persian (sometimes labeled as mini) cucumbers. This recipe will use about 2-3 Persian/mini cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber.Note 3: Onion: This recipe uses about 1/2 of a large red onion. We love the bite red onion adds, but note that it does intensify as this dish is stored. If you are sensitive to red onion, feel free to reduce or leave out this ingredient. Alternatively, it can be replaced with green onions or shallots, which are both a bit milder.Note 4: Parsley: Look for flat-leaf Italian parsley and curly parsley in the produce section of the store. Avoid curly parsley, it's usually used as a garnish and won't contribute much flavor to this salad. If you don't like parsley, you can use fresh basil or cilantro instead. You'll need about 3/4 of 1 large bunch for this recipe.