lentil salad with citrus vinaigrette

These lentils are fantastic warm or cold, for lunch or dinner.

Recently, I have been eating lentils nonstop. Lunch. Dinner. Lentils. They are so delicious on their own or with a few chopped vegetables. I am really into this citrus vinaigrette over the lentils and then pouring the salad over arugula and eating it with some whole wheat pita bread. Maybe some goat cheese crumbles too. Yum.

Lentils are filling, and the various types all bring different flavorings. These French green lentils have a slightly peppery flavor and pair well with the mild shallot and tangy citrus vinaigrette. For this salad, I definitely suggest setting it in the refrigerator for an hour or more before serving. The lentils really soak up the citrus vinaigrette well after sitting.

Next weekend I am heading to Seattle for a food photography and styling workshop hosted by Aran of Cannelle et Vanille and Chelsea of Frolic. I am beyond excited to attend the workshop and to be in one of my favorite cities of all time!

Right after graduating college in May of 2012, I drove from Boston to Seattle for two and a half weeks camping the whole way until reaching Seattle. It was such an incredible opportunity and spontaneous adventure. The landscape of the country changed drastically state after state: massive corn fields and grass, turning into dry alien-like canyons (a.k.a., South Dakota Badlands), finally changing green and plush as Washington neared. I remember losing all anxious feelings while driving from each place, even when one had not yet been determined. The beauty of the landscape brought so much peace of mind at a time when my whole life was changing. The structure of school ended and I didn't have a job, nor did I really have a clue what kind of job I wanted. Lots of college graduates hit a lull after school is over, but I was moving so quickly that I forgot to dwell on it. I was eager to embark on a new city.

The final destination was set.  It was Seattle for that summer, and I was dying to get there. Although I knew it would only be temporary, the change of scenery motivated me to put myself out there. It was certainly difficult at first: I needed a job, friends. I missed my family. After several weeks, I got a job. I began to explore the city thoroughly and saw wonderful things, ate unbelievable food, and met some fantastic people (some I will see this weekend)! Seattle is such a sacred place to me now. I learned so much about myself and what I wanted to experience in my short life.

I could definitely see myself living there again someday. 

green lentil salad with citrus vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1 cup dried french green lentils, sorted

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp freshly squeezed citrus juice (any combinations of orange, grapefruit, lemon - I used 2:1 orange: grapefruit)

zest of 1 lemon

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tbsp champagne vinegar

generous pinches of salt + pepper

cilantro for garnish, optional

Directions:

Place the lentils in a medium, shallow pan covered with about 3 inches of water (approximately 2 1/2 cups). Bring the contents to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 25-30 minutes until lentils are tender. Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the citrus juices, vinegar, evoo, salt, and pepper and whisk until emulsified. Set aside.

Drain the cooked lentils and rinse in cool water. Put them into a large bowl. Add the chopped shallots, lemon zest, a pinch of salt + pepper, and combine. Dress the lentils with the vinaigrette. Place them in the refrigerator for an hour or so, allowing the lentils to soak up the flavor of the vinaigrette. Garnish with cilantro if desired and serve!

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