Lentil Salad with Arugula and Feta

When buying lentils for this recipe, smaller varieties, like French green lentils, are the best choice. They hold their shape without becoming mushy, look pretty, and have a slightly chewy texture.

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cooling and assembly time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely crushed in a mortar or with a rolling pin (or 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander)
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac (optional), plus more for garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 1 cup small dried lentils, such as French green lentils
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 bunches (about 6 cups) arugula
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 ounces (about 2/3 cup) feta cheese, crumbled

Method

1 Make the dressing:  In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, coriander and sumac (if using) with 1/8 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil. Taste, and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

2 Cook the lentils: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.

3 While the lentils cook, toast the pine nuts: In a dry skillet over medium heat, stir the pine nuts constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. Transfer them immediately to a plate to keep them from burning.

Lentil Salad with Arugula and Feta

4 Season the lentils and tame the onions:  When the lentils are done cooking, drain them into a colander and transfer to a small bowl. While the lentils are still hot, stir in the onions and 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Let cool until it's a warm room temperature (no longer piping hot).

(To speed up the cooling, you can spread the lentils and onions out on a plate.)

Lentil Salad with Arugula and Feta

5 Assemble the salad: In a salad bowl, toss the arugula with the currants, cilantro, and remaining vinaigrette. Pile the lentils over the salad and top with the cherry tomatoes, feta, and toasted pine nuts. Sprinkle with more sumac, if you like.