Lentil Salad qualifies as a pantry dish to me. I have almost all the ingredients on hand at all times, and I can either omit or substitute for whatever it is I might lack.
(i don’t always have fresh parsley, but there’s normally some vegetable lurking in the crisper that i can chop up and add to the dish. if not, there’s always a handful of nuts, some raisins, and a small can of mandarin oranges.)
I love the idea of a “pantry salad” because it sounds like such a contradiction. Lentils cook quickly (less than 30 minutes) so this qualifies as a last-minute meal.
My kids will eat the cooked lentils with broth as a simple soup (cornbread is a welcome addition), but they won’t touch the finished dish. Mustard and vinegar aren’t flavors they’ve learned to appreciate.
Go look, you probably have half a bag of lentils lurking in your pantry right now. If so, I’m willing to bet you could make this and have it for dinner tonight.
To be honest, this is an adaptation of Alton Brown’s Lentil Salad recipe. I made a few tweaks to make it my own, including cutting the recipe in half and using chicken stock to cook the lentils.
To make basic lentils:
Yield is approximately 4 cups of cooked drained lentils.
Ingredients for basic lentils:
- ½ pound brown lentils (half a bag of the cheap ones)
- ½ an onion left in big chunk
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- chicken stock or water (enough to cover)
- salt and peper
- Pick through the lentils and pick out anything that isn’t a pretty lentil.
- Combine everything in a large saucepan. Cover with 2-3 inches of liquid and bring to a boil. Cook covered until the lentils are tender (about 20 minutes) over a simmer. Drain any remaining liquid, remove the onion, garlic, and bay leaf.
To make the lentil salad:
Ingredients for Lentil Salad:
- 4 cups of cooked drained lentils
- 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
- crumbled bacon (about 3 strips, but it was totally optional)
- chopped parsley (about 1/4 cup of fresh, but dried would work, or you could skip it)
Combine the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour over the lentils and stir well. At serving time, add the parsley and bacon (or whatever you happen to have.)
edited 4/5/13 to change image sourcing and add pinnable image for Pinterest.Buffer