French Lentil Salad with Feta and Mint


  • 1 1/2 cups French lentils
  • 4 fat cloves garlic
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 large shallot , diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sumac (optional)
  • 1 small or 1/2 large bulb fennel , diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 3 ounces Feta or fresh goat cheese (chevre), crumbled


  1. Rinse the lentils with water in a colander and look over carefully, removing any tiny stones or debris. Put in a medium pot with the garlic and bay leaf and cover by 2 to 3 inches with water. Bring to a boil. Once water boils, drop the heat until it simmers. Simmer until the lentils are just tender, but not mushy, about 20 minutes.
  2. While the lentils cook, in a medium bowl, make a dressing by whisking together the shallot, mustard, salt, vinegar, oil, several cracks of black pepper, and the optional sumac.
  3. Once the lentils are cooked, drain in a colander and add to the bowl with the dressing. Mix well. Add the fennel, mint, and feta and mix gently. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Serve warm or cold.