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white plate with french lentil salad

French Lentil Salad with Feta and Mint

Cook tiny French lentils until just tender and toss with a tangy shallot vinaigrette. Add diced fennel, fresh mint, and soft goat cheese and you have a dish that strikes a balance of rustic and elegant. It's enormously satisfying and nourishing. Enjoy as a main course lunch or supper or a side dish to roast chicken or fish.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 main dish servings; 6 to 8 side dish servings.
Calories 389 kcal
Author Katie Morford

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried French lentils (see notes)
  • 3 fat cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac or cumin
  • 1/4 minced shallot (1 medium)
  • 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

Instructions

  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 3 inches with water. Bring to a boil. Once water boils, drop the heat until it simmers. Simmer for 10 minutes, add 2 teaspoons salt, and continue simmering until the lentils are just tender, but not mushy (15 to 20 minutes total simmer time).

  2. While the lentils cook, in a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, salt, vinegar, oil, several cracks of black pepper, and sumac. Add the shallot and whisk again.

  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.

Recipe Notes

Notes: French lentils, also called lentils de Puy, are smaller and darker in color than standard green lentils. They hold their shape well when cooked and are well suited for salads.