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Lentils? In Spring? Mais Oui!

March 22, 2011

It blows your mind, doesn’t it?

The fact is, I usually associate lentils with thick, hearty stews– stews designed to keep your body toasty and your stomach full on a blustery winter night.

But.

A few years ago, in Paris, I had the most amazing warm lentil salad.  It was light and refreshing—the perfect dish to recreate on this warm spring night! 

Our trip was before the blog and thus before I captured 75% of my meals with the camera, so the lentil salad only lives on in my memories.  Lack of food photos notwithstanding, it was a great trip.  My sister, my brother-in-law and I met up with my parents for a week of gallivanting, French-style. 

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Kevin was singing the Felicity theme song here.  Don’t ask.

Ryan was waist-deep in his PhD dissertation on irony, so he couldn’t join us, which probably meant that he was doing a lot of this:

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(Anachronism alert! We actually got Baxter the week *after* I got back from Paris!)

Is that ironic?  I don’t know…I still haven’t grasped the details of what exactly it is he does. But hey, for the first year that we were together, my aunt thought that he was writing a dissertation on “ironing,” so you know…it could be worse?

Anyway. 

This May, Ryan and I will be heading to France together, first to travel on our own for a week, and then to meet up with my parents in Burgundy.  For the last leg of the trip, we’ll be heading to Paris together—I can’t wait! I’m hoping to track down another warm lentil salad…but until then, this homemade version will have to do.

Warm Lentil and Artichoke Salad

Ingredients

1 and 1/4 cups lentils

1 small white onion, chopped

1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling

5-6 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped

1 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced

juice of 1 lemon

salt to season

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat olive oil.  Add onion and cook over medium heat until glistening, about ten minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Add lentils to pot and season generously with salt.  Add broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Transfer lentils to a bowl and add artichokes, parsley and lemon juice and more salt if needed.  Serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil.  

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We found ourselves with a lack of goat cheese in the house (gasp!), but I think it would make a delicious addition to this salad. We served ours slightly warm over mixed greens, with a final drizzle of lemon olive oil.  Sighhhhh.

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*Almost* as good as being in Paris.

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Almost.

36 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2011 12:22 am

    I’m not a huge lentil fan, but I’ll admit that salad looks great!!

  2. March 22, 2011 12:36 am

    Yum, that salad looks awesome. I love cold lentil salads in the summer.

  3. March 22, 2011 12:42 am

    Je suis super jalouse!! I need to know more details…where in France will you and Ryan be traveling? I know you’ve been before, but if you need any ideas for places to see/things to do, I’m your girl. I was able to see quite a bit of it when I lived there a few years ago.

    Maybe I’m remembering this wrong, but didn’t you and Ryan have a disagreement about what constituted “living” somewhere? Like, I can’t count having lived in France because it was technically study abroad even though I was there for 12 months? I don’t remember who won the argument, but I’m still claiming France as a past residence. I also lived in Germany for a month and Bermuda for four days. What?

    • March 22, 2011 12:12 pm

      Haha…I don’t remember having that conversation, but it sounds like one we’d have. I think a year counts!!

      We’ll be starting in Nice, stopping off in a few small towns (including the town I studied abroad in!) on our way up to Burgundy, spending about a week there, and then ending in Paris for another 5 days. So excited!! Any tips you have for must-sees and do’s are much appreciated!!

  4. March 22, 2011 1:03 am

    Baxter is too cute for words!!

    I’ve only had lentils once and they were alright. However they were in a curry sauce which I’m not a huge fan of so I need to try it again. I love anything with artichokes so I will have to try this!

  5. March 22, 2011 1:45 am

    What a great/interesting combo! Lentils are for the springtime too! lentil tacos! Ole!!!!

  6. March 22, 2011 2:19 am

    i’ve been dreaming of lentils lately…no idea it’s not cool to have ’em in the spring! i remember making lentil stew all summer last year 🙂

  7. March 22, 2011 2:42 am

    Definitely trying that salad! Yummm!

  8. March 22, 2011 3:34 am

    I love how simple this salad recipe is. All I need is a jar of artichoke hearts and this salad is mine! 🙂
    And Baby Baxter has got to be one of the most adorable things on this planet.
    -Lisa

    • March 22, 2011 12:10 pm

      Yep…Baxter was pretty much the cutest thing EVER when we got him– he only weighed four pounds!! And heck…he’s still pretty cute 🙂

  9. March 22, 2011 5:56 am

    This looks delicious! Yum!

  10. March 22, 2011 9:18 am

    lentils AND artichokes are two awesome foods. love the canned ‘chokes you used. They look so nice! Artichokes are one of those foods than canned or frozen are wayyyyy easier and better and more efficient than fresh. And i almost never say that!

    • March 22, 2011 12:09 pm

      Yes! Do you know I’ve never even *tried* to cook artichokes fresh? Canned are so easy!!

  11. March 22, 2011 10:13 am

    Confession? I’ve only used lentils for soup. Apparently I’ve been missing out!

  12. March 22, 2011 11:49 am

    Yes! Lentil salad sounds so good. And were those artichokes I saw in there?? Yummy! I was also in Paris a few years ago, and the most exciting thing that I tried was probably a croque monsieur or French onion soup. 🙂 How exciting that you are going back to explore France again, especially now that you’re a foodie blogger!

    • March 22, 2011 12:09 pm

      Oh, I think I could have eaten a croque monsieur every day for lunch and dinner and been completely happy!!

  13. March 22, 2011 11:58 am

    That salad sounds delicious 🙂 Yum !!!

  14. March 22, 2011 11:58 am

    I actually have all the ingredients, minus the fresh parsley, in my house for this. You might have decided what I’m having for dinner.

  15. March 22, 2011 12:37 pm

    LOL – ironing. I wonder what my family really thought my thesis was on. Their eyes typically just glazed over. That salad looks so good.

  16. March 22, 2011 1:31 pm

    French food makes my life complete. I can’t wait to go back, until then I’ll have to make your warm lentil salad and pretend.

  17. March 22, 2011 1:44 pm

    That last picture is breathtaking, seriously. Contemplating making it my computer background…

    • March 22, 2011 2:34 pm

      Aww, thanks! It’s amazing what you can do with the default photo software on the computer!

  18. March 22, 2011 1:49 pm

    I’ve developed a total love for lentils since becoming vegetarian. While I like cold salads, I really like something warm once in a while. Great & easy recipe!

  19. March 22, 2011 2:14 pm

    Nothing beats Paris!

  20. March 22, 2011 3:04 pm

    I could totally fit in your suitcase! I want to go back so badly…I LOVE Paris. The lentil salad is perfection!

  21. March 22, 2011 4:50 pm

    I used to feel the same way about lentils until discovering the awesomeness of cold sprouted lentils on salads, yum! Cute pic on Ryan, poor guy! This recipe looks fantastic, can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

  22. March 22, 2011 6:52 pm

    Looks delicious! I tried a cold lentil salad last summer and it was so good!!

  23. March 22, 2011 8:11 pm

    I’m actually making lentil soup right now — it’s still winter here in maine! your cold lentil salad looks so satisfying, though. Reminds me of summertime…

  24. March 22, 2011 8:34 pm

    And my spring cravings continue! Good thing I have can of artichoke hearts AND a bag of frozen hearts as well! I really need to eat this dish soon. You are also getting me excited about my first trip to Paris coming up this fall 🙂 Let’s not talk about fall though, I’m all about SPRING!!

  25. greensandjeans permalink
    March 23, 2011 1:55 am

    You guys take the best trips. Seriously. Although, Colin and I have been eying Iceland recently…

  26. March 23, 2011 2:34 am

    I laughed out loud at the anachronism alert. More appropriate should have been nerd alert, no?? 😉 (I am really just masking my jealousy at your awesome travel locations and trips to Paris.)

    PhD’s in irony. I freakin’ love America.

  27. March 23, 2011 11:06 am

    I must make this- Josh is an artichoke fanatic! He’d loveee it. Your trip to France sounds fabulous! I can’t wait to see the pictures from this go round

  28. March 23, 2011 12:54 pm

    SAVE! That looks delicious! I think I have everything on hand, too. Lentils are great, and lightening them up is perfect for the imminent (here’s hoping) spring/summer weather 🙂

    Europe in May is soooo pretty…jealous!

  29. Ginger permalink
    March 23, 2011 2:59 pm

    This post reminded me of that warm spinach and lentil salad at The Lucky Strike Restaurant in NYC – remember how good it was? Yours looks just as good! Also, yesterday, I was working our newspaper crossword puzzle and the clue was “incongruous”, and the answer was “ironic”! Cleared up Ryan’s PhD a little for me!

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