|Hearty Lentil Salad with Apples and Garlic Vinaigrette|
Spring is a marvelous season, especially here, since the winters are just cold enough to give everything a good shock. After a streak of warm days, the landscape seems an explosion of color and everywhere I rest my eyes, there are blossoms to admire, from the perky yellow daffodil to the formal, erect purple iris, to the burst of pink from the plum trees; the slightest wind blows the tiny white flowers from the stark branches of the pear and apple trees and their fragrant blooms fall like snow to the ground below.
Along with the requisite Spring cleaning to be done around the house, it's time to dig deep into the recesses of the refrigerator. This time, I managed to unearth two apples, lingering on the bottom of the crisper and a box of steamed lentils that I'd hidden away with the intent of making a hearty soup. With the addition of a few other ingredients--parsley from my garden, tender ribs of celery, a crumble of feta cheese, a handful of walnut pieces, and a rather lackluster tasting Roma tomato purchased on impulse--I had the makings of a delicious and filling salad.
This salad packs well and is best enjoyed outdoors among the beautiful pastoral landscapes among the wildflowers--the perfect excuse for me to sneak away with Mr. B for a mid-morning hike and a picnic lunch. Here's to Spring!
Lentil and Apple Salad
16 oz box of steamed French lentils (or 2 cups cooked)
1/2 cup of chopped parsley, plus leaves for garnish
3 celery ribs, diced
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 Roma tomato, diced (optional)
1 generous handful of walnut pieces, crumbled
1 generous handful of crumbled feta cheese
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 T. sugar
A few shakes of apple cider vinegar
1. In a large wooden salad bowl, mix a heaping tablespoon of mustard with the apple cider vinegar, sugar, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until you have a thick dressing; add lemon juice, to taste.
2. Add the lentils, parsley, celery, apples, tomato, and walnuts and fold into the dressing until completely dressed.
3. Allow to sit for 20 minutes; top with the crumbled feta cheese and serve with crusty bread and arugula.