I call this my French lentil salad as I got a dish like this when I visited a friend in France so when I recreated this dish at home I call it my French Lentil Salad. And I also use French lentils.
The salad has an acidic-tangy flavor from the lemon and vinegar that I find refreshing and marries well with the celery and earthy flavor thyme. For me the key to success of this salad is to ensure celery is thinly sliced and onion finely chopped. And to not be afraid to go a little over on the acidic side with taste of vinegar and lemon.
I serve this salad as a side dish, it is a perfect vegetarian alternative on a buffet. If I have leftovers I have also added it to a broth for a soup.
French Lentil Salad
300 mL of green lentils, preferably Puy Lentils
3 stalks of celery
1 small red onion
1 small bunch flat leave parsley (Italian parsley)
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp of dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook lentils according to recipe on the package. For extra flavor you can add a cube of vegetable or chicken bouillon to the water when boiling them.
- Let the lentils cool down.
- With a vegetable peeler, peel the very outer layer off the celery stalks to get rid of the hard fiber layer that tends to be very “stringy”.
- Slice celery stalks thin. I use a mandolin to get the slices really thin, but a sharp knife can be used too.
- Finely chop red onion and parsley.
- In a bowl mix celery, parsley, garlic, thyme with vinegar and oil. Squeeze in the lemon juice.
- Add in the cold lentils and carefully fold together. Be easy on your hand when folding to not break the outer skin of the lentils.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Let sit for 1 hour. Taste you may want to add a little more vinegar and seasoning before serving.
I prefer to use Puy lentils, also called small French green lentils. They tend to be a little firmer and therefore hold well together in a salad or soup. In the European Union the Le Puy green lentils are protected and have to come from the region Le Puy.
Remember Life is too short to not eat and drink well!