Fattoush-Inspired Lentil Salad
serves 3-4 as a main dish, more as a side
1 c yellow lentils
2 c water
2 cucumbers, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 c chopped tomatoes
10-20 kalmata olives, finely chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 T lemon juice
1 T red wine vinegar
2 T + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
1-2 tsp sumac
2 tsp mint, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1/2 c chopped parsley (or 2 T dried)
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the lentils according to package directions. For the lentils I bought in bulk, I put the lentils and water in a saucepan, brought them to a boil, and then simmered them, covered, for only about 10 minutes. (Just be sure to check them often!) Drain and set aside.
Sauté the pepper in 1 tsp olive oil until tender, then add 2/3 of the garlic and sauté for another 15 seconds or so. Set aside.
For the dressing, combine the remaining garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and sumac. (It won’t emulsify, so just mix it up the best you can – it will separate)
Put the lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, pepper, garlic, and kalmata olives into a large bowl, and then pour the dressing on top. Mix well to distribute the dressing, then add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the amounts of the items in the dressing as desired (I added more red wine vinegar and lemon juice, but it turned out I had a surplus of liquid in the bottom at the end, so don’t go overboard). Add the parsley and mint and mix again. Refrigerate for an hour before serving to let the flavors combine.
You could make this with brown lentils as well, if you want the lentils to be a little more substantial.
The only ingredient in this dish that might be difficult to find is sumac, which is a reddish-purple powder made from the dried flowers of a specific type of sumac. You can find it in Middle-Eastern or Mediterranean grocery stores, or at the Savory Spice Shop in Boulder.