Your Life A to Z Recipe: Wednesday, January 7th, 2015: Lentil Salad and Soup by Chef Tony Hamati of Naya Mediterranean Cuisine

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Lentil Salad with Feta
Ingredients:
For the cooked green lentils:
            1 lb. green lentils
            1 carrot, halved
            1 celery stalk, cut into 3 pieces
            1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
            About 5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs?
            1 red onion, chopped
            1 roasted red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
            2/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
            2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
            1 Tbs. olive oil
            1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
            Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:
Cook the lentils
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the lentils, carrot, celery, yellow onion, parsley sprigs and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and discard the vegetables. Spoon out 2 1/2 cups of the lentils for the salad. Set aside the remaining lentils to cool before storing for later use (see Storage Tip below).

Prepare the salad
In a bowl, stir together the red onion, bell pepper, chopped parsley and the 2 1/2 cups lentils. Stir in the vinegar and olive oil. Add the feta and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4 (makes about 6 cups cooked lentils total).

Storage Tip: Store the cooked lentils in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It is best not to freeze beans.

Lentil Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise
 

Directions

Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart pot and set on medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander and cumin  and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. If you like Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency.