Black Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

There are three bags of lentil in the pantry: black beluga lentil from Canada, brownish lentil from the Pacific Northwest (Bob’s Red Mill) and red split lentil from Trader Joe’s. Should I use one of these or get another bag of French green lentil called for in the recipe? I decided on the former (my fondness for black-color food notwithstanding), since I was running out of time to shop for the Le Puy lentils, make the salad and post it on Friday with the Cook-the-book-Fridays group.

I don’t need much convincing when it comes to Le Puy lentils, which David Lebovitz specifically calls for in this salad. These French lentils are worthy of caviar-like adulation for their superb flavor and texture, and their ability to hold their shape when mixed in a salad.

Now I know for a fact that the black lentils could do no less. Both the black and the Le Puy lentils are worthy of assuming the star role in this salad. The subtle crunch, the taste and the texture are just splendid. This salad has it all. Earthy yet sophisticated. Hearty and nutty. Herbaceous and luxurious. So lovely that we’d want it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or pack it for lunch or a picnic. Not to mention that lentils are remarkably nutritious with a healthy dose of fiber and protein.

Besides substituting black for Le Puy lentils, I left out the walnut oil. I didn’t have it on hand. I know I’m missing out the effect from the “champagne of the oil world,” as David puts it. I’d surely include the walnut oil in the next round. A bag of fresh cilantro, washed and dried, was sitting idly in the refrigerator. I grabbed that as well.

There are so many layers of flavor in this salad. Scrumptious ingredients are layered lavishly, step by step, in the making of this salad:

  1. Simmering the fancy lentils until tender, not mushy, in lightly salted water with bay leaf and fresh thyme.
  2. Making the mirepoix containing carrot, onion and celery as a flavor base to the lentils. Cook briefly with the lentils.
  3. Brightening with a vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallot and olive oil (or half walnut oil and half olive oil).
  4. Topping with a flourish of toasted walnuts, chopped fresh parsley and crumbled goat cheese as the lentils cool.

This salad is perfection. Culminated in a bowl full of fantastic flavor, texture as well as nutrients.

 

Finely diced carrot, celery and red onion

 

A splendid bowl of salad full of flavor, texture and nutrition

 

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    betsy
    June 16, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Belugas are a wonderful alternative to the Le Puys. And I like how you describe this as layers of flavors. That’s right on.

  • Reply
    Chez Nana
    June 17, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    This was so perfect. Everything about it made for a delicious salad that just got better with “age”. I had no idea there were so many different types and colors of lentils, wow, I have to do a little research on this topic. I love the way you presented this in that lovely bowl with all the greens around, gorgeous.

    • Reply
      Shirley@EverOpenSauce
      June 17, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      I was inspired by the abundance of greens, from the garden, farmers market and everywhere I looked. Yes, this salad gets better with age!

  • Reply
    Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    June 18, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Oh my – I LOVE the look of the black lentils! Gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Shirley@EverOpenSauce
      June 19, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Black lentils have the bite and the deep dark color I am looking for in certain food.

  • Reply
    Mary Hirsch
    June 20, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Agree that everything about this salad is perfect and, once again, everything about your post is interesting, educational and perfection in its own way. I have never used black lentils but certainly will try them this summer. I have red lentils in my pantry and a friend suggested I made red lentil curry. Do you have any suggestions about what I should make with my “reds.” Since I wasn’t making this until last Sunday, I did order Le Puys and had them on hand to make for the luncheon I gave yesterday. Just delicious and a hit with my guests who took home all the leftovers (none left for me). Easy to make so a nutritious easy peasy to make often.

    • Reply
      Shirley@EverOpenSauce
      June 20, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      Thank you, Mary for liking what I’ve posted. I like the black lentils a lot, mostly it’s firm texture that holds up well in a dressing. Actually it shines. On the other hand, the red is less firm and it’s milder in taste and texture. I have seen red lentils pair well with fish or something delicate, served in restaurants. Hope that helps.

  • Reply
    Karen
    June 22, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Your salad looks beautiful! I will have to give black lentils a try some time.

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