Spiced Puy lentils with porcini & herbs

Spiced Puy lentils with porcini & herbs

By
From
New Feast
Serves
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

We’re almost embarrassed by how often we make this salad – or some version of it. Generally, tiny Puy lentils make an ideal basis for salads. They cook quickly, hold their shape well and their earthy sweetness is a great foil for all kinds of vibrant, herby dressings. Use this as a basic recipe and play around with it until you find your preferred combinations (and see some of our favourite ideas below). The porcini mushrooms here are optional, but they do underscore the earthiness of the lentils and add a lovely, slightly chewy texture.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
25g porcini mushrooms, (optional)
250g puy lentils
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
40ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 spring onions, shredded
1 loosely packed cup coriander leaves
1/4 loosely packed cup mint leaves, roughly shredded
1/2 loosely packed cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly shredded
Labneh, strained for 12 hours
or soft goat’s cheese, to serve

Dressing

Quantity Ingredient
2 small garlic clove, crushed with ½ teaspoon sea salt
1 lemon, juiced
50ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. If using, cover the porcini mushrooms with warm water and leave to soak for 15 minutes.
  2. Place the lentils in a pan of cold water with the bay leaf and thyme and bring to the boil. Do not salt the water as it toughens their skins. Lower the heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain well then tip into a mixing bowl. While the lentils are still warm, stir in the oil and lemon juice and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the spring onion and herbs.
  3. Fish the porcini mushrooms out of their soaking liquid and pat them dry. Chop them roughly and stir them into the lentils.
  4. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Pour onto the lentils and mix in thoroughly. Dot with blobs of labneh or goat’s cheese and serve straight away.

Variations

  • Turn the salad into a heartier meal with soft-boiled eggs

    Replace the herbs with dill and flat-leaf parsley and add a diced ripe pear

    Instead of labneh, crumble on 50 g of home-made shankleesh

    Omit the mushrooms and add avocado and ruby grapefruit segments

    Top the salad with long shreds of sweet peppers and shallots in lemon oil

    Try a combination of flat-leaf parsley, pomegranate and feta. Or rocket leaves and pieces of charred lemon. Or small cubes of roasted pumpkin or sweet potato
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