Did I mention I've become a big fan of beans over the past year? Lentils have become one of my favorites. They cook very quickly, do not require any presoaking and are very nutritious. They come in many varieties but for salads the French or green lentils seem to be the best as they hold their shape and don't get mushy when cooked. Here's a simple salad loosely interpreted from a wonderful chef - Joyce Goldstein:
1 cup green lentils cooked and drained(takes around 20-25 minutes to cook them)
1/2 cup carrots chopped
1/2 cup celery chopped
1 medium onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1-2 tbsp capers
crumbled feta for sprinkling
Garlic or oregano vinagrette(1/3 cup) - recipe follows
Sautee the onions, carrots and celery for about 7-8 minutes in some olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add this mixture to the cooked lentils along with the capers, olives and sprinkle with crumbled feta.
For the vinagrette, whisk together or shake in jar: 1 medium garlic clove crushed or minced, 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano or dried, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.