So that brings us to this and I wouldn't have kept you here if I wasn't planning to feed you. What are we having? Why, the same thing I've had for lunch for the last four days: French Lentil Salad. I'm not a creature of habit, so that repetition should tell you something. Most of the components for the salad are laid out above, pre-toss. The cookies/various jars are in the photo above because I was making a point about mornings. I remember the start of "the morning person project." I guess it worked.
Note: I added meat to this because it was headed to a carnivorous household. Take out the sausage and it's not only vegetarian, it's vegan and gluten-free. You can have it all. I based the bones of this recipe on the one over at In Pursuit of More but changed the dressing and added a few things.
French Lentil Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette
8 servings (lasts for days in the fridge)
1 cup French green lentils (any lentil will do, I just like these)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
2 medium golden beets, ends removed
2 1/2 TB olive oil
1 lb Brussels sprouts, stem end trimmed, then shredded into ribbons
3 apricots, sliced thin off the pit
4 dates, pit removed and sliced to a similar thickness as the apricots
5-6 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons (chiffonade)
Optional: 1 package Spencer's herbed pork bangers
3 TB Dijon mustard
Juice of one large lemon
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1.) Soak your lentils according to package directions. Shoot for at least three hours and, lest you be intimidated, this is literally pouring a cup of lentils into 2 1/2 cups of water and walking away. Do it before bed, do it first thing in the morning, it's easy.
2.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, then toss your sweet potato and red onion with 2TB of olive oil until it's evenly distributed and everything's a little shiny, then season lightly with salt and pepper.
3.) Separately, tear off another piece of foil and add your beets. Gather the sides, then drizzle the last 1/2 TB of olive oil over the top and pinch the ends up very tightly...you don't want any hot oil to be able to escape.
4.) Put both the tray of onion and the beets in the 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring the pan vegetables at the 15 minute mark. Now would also be a good time to drain your lentils, refill the pot with another 2 1/2 cups of water and bring it to a boil once there, lower it to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are just tender. Drain them and add a splash or two of the vinaigrette so the lentils soak up some of the acidity.
5.) Once the vegetables are done, pull them out to cool, including venting the foil packet for the beets. They'll be hot, but use a paper towel to rub the skins off, then set them aside on your cutting board.
6.) If you're using sausage, this would be the time to fry them up. Get them evenly browned then cut them into small rounds when you're done.
7.) Time to add it all together, then toss with the dressing. It's great fresh, when some of the pieces are still warm, but it's wonderful after it's been marinating for a couple days, too. I think this would also make a great side dish for a lunch or party. Tis the season.