Warm Lentil Side

How often do you think about lentils?  When they’re offered as the soup-of-the-day at your favorite lunch spot?  I love lentil soup (and always have it on hand in the freezer), but one of my other favorite ways to enjoy lentils are as a warm side dish – comforting, nutritious, and delicious!

Warm Lentil Side

This is one of the recipes out of the latest cookbook by Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa – How Easy Is That?), but I’ve made it so many times – I use what I have on hand and it’s the perfect accompaniment.

Start by coursely chopping 2 carrots (cut in quarters lengthwise – then about 1/2 inch dice), clean and chop one leek (white and light green part) [today I had a large shallot that I used as a substitute], and one chopped garlic clove.  Saute the carrot and leek in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring 4 cups water, one whole onion stuck with 6 cloves, and one cup of lentils to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and add the carrot/leek mixture.  Simmer uncovered for about 18-20 minutes (until lentils are tender to the bite).  While lentils are simmering, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 TBLS red wine vinegar, 4 tsp dijon mustard, 1 TBLS kosher salt, and 1 tsp ground black pepper.

When lentils are ready, discard the onion and drain.  Transfer lentils to a large bowl and add 1 tsp. butter.  Add the dijon vinaigrette and toss together.  Let lentils stand for at least 15 minutes before serving so they can soak up the dressing.  That’s it – the perfect side dish!  Enjoy!

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