Mediterranean Lentil Salad
Here’s a summery lentil salad topped with tomatoes, roasted peppers and feta, garnished with hard-cooked eggs, anchovy fillets and good canned tuna. Studded with olives and sprinkled with oregano, it’s a sort-of niçoise salad by way of Greece, an easy main course suitable for a picnic or a no-fuss make-ahead supper.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1 ½cups small brown or green lentils, such as Castelluccio or Le Puy
- 1bay leaf
- A few thyme sprigs, tied in a bundle
- Salt and pepper
- 1 ½pounds tiny new potatoes
- 12ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (about 3 cups)
- ½small red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water
- 2red bell peppers, roasted, skin removed and cut into long, wide strips
- 8anchovy fillets (optional)
- 8ounces good-quality canned tuna, drained, in large chunks (optional)
- 4hard-cooked eggs (9 minutes), halved or quartered
- 2tablespoons roughly chopped mint
- 3tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
- Small handful of basil leaves, for garnish
- 1cup good-quality black olives, such as niçoise, Kalamata or Moroccan
- 4ounces feta, cut in 1/2-inch slices
- 3tablespoons red-wine vinegar, plus more to taste
- 2garlic cloves, grated or smashed to a paste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Salt and pepper
- ½cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
- 1teaspoon crumbled oregano, plus a little more for sprinkling
Step 1Cook the lentils: Rinse and put in a medium saucepan. Cover with 4 cups water and add bay leaf, thyme sprig and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer gently with lid ajar for 20 to 25 minutes, until lentils are tender. Set pot aside and let cool to room temperature.
Step 2Put the potatoes in another saucepan, cover with water and add a heaping teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to brisk simmer. Cook about 15 minutes, until cooked through when probed with a paring knife. Drain and set aside. (If desired, use a paring knife to remove skins from potatoes while still warm.) Cut in halves or quarters.
Step 3While lentils cook, make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, stir together vinegar and garlic. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust. Stir in oregano.
Step 4Put the cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Drain onion slices, and add to the tomatoes along with roasted pepper strips. Season with salt, then add half the vinaigrette (well whisked). Toss to coat.
Step 5To assemble salad, drain lentils and transfer to a large low, wide bowl or platter and let cool for 10 minutes. Add remaining vinaigrette, sprinkle with a little salt and toss gently. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Step 6Top lentils with tomato-onion-pepper mixture. Arrange anchovy fillets, tuna (if using) and eggs on top. Sprinkle with mint and parsley. Arrange halved or quartered potatoes around the perimeter. Garnish with basil leaves, olives and feta. Sprinkle a pinch of oregano over the salad.