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Warm Lentil Salad with Garlicky Sausage

By Catherine Newman 

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 15 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

This is a yummy, deeply satisfying, and highly nutritious main-dish salad that manages to be tender and crunchy and tangy and rich all at once. A few notes about the ingredients here: you can use definitely use regular brown lentils, but if you can find the tiny green or black ones, they’re still relatively inexpensive, and they hold their shape a little better in the salad. Also, celery leaves are, as far as I’m concerned, a free bonus herb that comes inside your bunch of celery—you might as well use them! And, finally, I’m using kielbasa (Polish smoked sausage) here, but certainly another way to say “garlicky sausage” is *hot dog*—feel free to sub in sliced franks that you’ve browned in a pan. (If you can, try to buy sausage with no nitrates or nitrites added.) Or skip the sausage and top each serving with a poached egg (which is how I serve it to my vegetarian daughter).

Ingredients

1 cup lentils

3 cups water

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)

2 cups finely diced vegetables (I use something like 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, and ½ a red onion, but you can use any combination you like, or all one type, and/or add zucchini or bell peppers, if you like)

½ stick (1/4 cup) butter, cut into pieces (or ¼ cup olive oil)

¼ cup balsamic vinegar (or another vinegar of your choosing)

1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

1 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 (12-ounce) link kielbasa, cut into ¼-inch diagonal slices (or an equal amount of hot dogs or another garlicky sausage, or skip this altogether)

2 tablespoon finely chopped celery leaves (or parsley)

Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Put the lentils, water, and salt in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables so that you can add a tablespoon or two to the pot while the lentils cook, to help flavor the lentils.

  2. Once the lentils come to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer until the lentils are just tender, around 25-30 minutes (add boiling water if all the water ever seems to have cooked off).

  3. Stir the rest of the vegetables into the lentils and simmer another 2 minutes, then gently drain all of it in a colander and return to the pot.

  4. Add the butter (or olive oil), vinegar, and garlic to the hot lentils, and stir gently.

  5. At some point (ideally while the lentils are cooking), sauté the kielbasa or hot dog slices in the oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan, turning the slices so they get nice and brown.

  6. Now stir the kielbasa slices into the newly dressed lentils, along with the celery leaves (reserve a bit for garnish) and a big grinding of black pepper. Taste the salad and add more salt or vinegar, if you think it needs brightening—or a splash of olive oil if it’s too acidic. Pour into a serving dish, garnish with the celery leaves, and serve warm, with a crisp green salad.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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