Summertime always makes me crave simple foods. I don’t know if it’s that summer produce is just so good and fresh that it doesn’t need much, or that the slow pace of lazy summer days makes me a little lazy in the kitchen. Either way, when the warm weather hits, simple is my mantra. Like this Simple Lentil Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables.
We first tested this Simple Lentil Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables while on our last big cooking weekend in early May. It was one of those gorgeous spring days where the sun is bright and the air still has a tiny bit of crispness in it. After cooking all morning, we set up a lovely little lunch on the deck of Lane’s cabin and feasted on roasted fish, mayo-free potato salad, fresh salsa, and this delightful lentil salad. It was a little mismatched, but totally perfect.
The lentil salad starts with a base of green lentils, simply cooked in chicken broth spiced with a little coriander and kosher salt. Be careful not to overcook them – you want a little bite! While the lentils cook, roast up some cubed sweet potatoes in a little olive oil. When they are nice and brown, toss them in with the lentils. A fresh leek, simply sliced and sautéed until golden in a few tablespoons of butter add flavor and richness to the dish.
Toss the warm lentils with the sweet potatoes and leek. Season gently with salt and pepper to taste. The salad is ready to serve (and is gorgeous topped with a little fresh parsley for garnish) or you can refrigerate and serve cold later. I also like to up the flavor ante and drizzle the whole thing with a few tablespoons of our Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette. You can find the recipe for the vinaigrette here. The vinaigrette takes just a few minutes to make and adds a delightful herby, mustard flavor.
These lentils are a perfect side dish for roast chicken, a green salad, or even as a hearty vegetarian stand alone dish. Leftovers will keep well for a few days in an airtight container the fridge.