This salad wasn’t really planned out. I set about making lunch one day, but was in one of those moods where nothing really sounded good. After hemming and hawing for a bit, I ended up grabbing several random ingredients. Anything I saw that seemed appealing at the time got put on the counter. Not surprisingly these basic ingredients are some of my favorites. Feeling accomplished about picking out items for lunch, I then realized I still had to figure out what to do with them. This salad is what ended up happening. Nothing too fancy, but delicious and filling nevertheless.
I don’t like overly oily salad dressing, so I just mixed lemon juice into the lentils instead of making an actual dressing. And olive oil lemon dressing or a light vinaigrette could definitely be used on the lettuce or lentils if you like. If you are looking for something a little warmer for this time of year, the lentils could also be served warm with all the ingredients mixed in. If serving warm, I would leave out the lettuce and substitute a bed of sautéed spinach.
Lentil, Olive & Goat Cheese Salad
For the Lentils
- 1 cup dried green, brown, or French lentils
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
- 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, or other seasonings (optional)
- 1/4 – 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 head butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 small red onion, diced
- handful of kalamata olives, chopped
- 1 tomato, diced
- juice of 1 lemon
- olive oil (optional)
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
- bacon or pancetta, cooked until crispy and crumbled
For the Lentils:
- Wash Lentils in a strainer or colander. Pick over and remove any shriveled lentils, debris, or rocks. Thoroughly rinse under running water. Then transfer the rinsed lentils to a saucepan and pour in the broth/water. Add any seasonings being used, reserving the salt.
- Bring the broth/water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.
- When lentils are done, remove from pot and allow to cool in a serving dish.
- While the lentils are cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Divide lettuce onto individual serving dishes.
- When lentils are cooled, add onion, tomato and olives and top with lemon juice (and olive oil if using). Mix ingredients together. Crumble goat cheese and sprinkle bacon over the top. Divide the lentils between the lettuce plates and serve.