Monday, August 18, 2008

my favorite summer salad

Tonight I made one of my all time favorite salads. It's only ever truly good during the summer months when the herbs and vegetables are fresh and at their best. I made it when I went home in June and I've been craving it ever since.

I found the recipe in an old Cooking Light magazine. I love that cooking magazine; the recipes
from it always turn out well. This salad is easy to make and perfect to double or triple for big groups.

Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad

2 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chicken broth
½ cup dried petite green lentils
1 bay leaf
2 cups uncooked orecchiette pasta
1 cup diced zucchini
3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup yellow bell pepper
½ cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To prepare vinaigrette, combine first 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until well blended. To prepare salad, combine broth, lentils, and bay leaf in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Discard bay leaf. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine lentils, pasta, zucchini, and remaining ingredients. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss well. store in an airtight container. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Lynnea’s note: When I'm in a hurry I just use 1 regular sized can of lentils rather than cooking them up. I always rinse and drain them very well before using. I also use dried basil and parsley if I don’t have fresh and the salad turns out edible. And I have never used the le puy lentils, instead the regular brown ones work nicely.

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