Chances are right now you have in the back of your pantry somewhere lurking a bag of lentils. You don't know what to do with them, you don't even know what they are - How did they get there - did the previous owners leave them??
I have felt that way about lentils for a good part of my life. Strange little bean-pea things, I think I may have used them for fillings in a bean bag for primary class.
But you are going to cook them and you are going to LOVE them. This salad is amazing, and I have been eating it non-stop all week. In fact, I made the recipe then portioned it into containers to take around to people who I thought might enjoy it. I wasn't sure I was going to eat that much of it, and I didn't think my family was going to eat it at all (in fact, I didn't even offer it to them)
But as the week rolled on, each day around lunch, I would think.. OH YEAH! I have lentil salad, and then another container would get eaten. I ate them all. I did! And I have absolutely no regret. My mom has asked a few times, are you going to bring up that lentil salad you made, so I am going to make another batch and I'll have lunch all week, and be able to take my mom some. You are really going to like this recipe.
Lemon Garlic Dressing:
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ Tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt
1 cup dry brown lentils
½ bunch parsley
1 pint grape tomatoes
¼ small red onion
2oz. feta, crumbled
Cook the lentils according to the package directions. For most brown lentils, bring 3 cups of water to boil in a pot, add the lentils, then continue to boil for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain the lentils in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water until they are cooled.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the lemon garlic dressing. Use a microplane, zester, or small-holed cheese grater to remove about 1 Tbsp of the lemon's zest (the thin, yellow, outer layer of the peel). Set the zest aside. Juice the lemon and measure ¼ cup of the juice to use for the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Set the dressing aside.
Rinse the parsley well, shake off as much water as possible, then pull the leaves from the stems. Roughly chop the parsley leaves. Cut the grape tomatoes in half. Finely dice the red onion.
When the lentils are cooked, cooled, and well drained, transfer them to a large bowl. Add the chopped parsley, tomatoes, red onion, crumbled feta, lemon zest, and the prepared dressing. Stir to combine the ingredients and coat everything in dressing.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat. Always stir the salad just before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.