This salad is inspired by a delicious lunch I had recently with my frineds from Purl. I have been making my own simple lentil salad for years but it does require a lot of chopping...something not everyone enjoys. In this new version, grated veggies make the prep much quicker, and a creamy avocado dressing brings it all together.
If you want to prepare the lentils in advance they can be cooked and stored in a container in the refrigerator for several days. Be sure to reserve teh garlic and shallots too, for use in the dressing.
SUMMER LENTIL SALAD (serves 6-8)
1 cup french lentils
2 cloves garlic, papery skins removed
1 small shallot
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 pint sugar snap peas
3 persian cucumbers
1/2 jicama, peeled
Greens such as pea shoots, micro arugula, mesclun (or whatever tender salad greens you like)
1/4 cup freshly chopped dill
1/4 cup rice wine venegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
Combine lentils, garlic, shallot, and bay leaf in a pot with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon sea salt and taste for doneness - if they are tender drain and set aside. If the lentils are still hard check every few minutes until they are tender. Remove and discard bay leaf; reserve cooked garlic and shallot for the dressing.
Remove tough strings from the sugar snap peas (or snowpeas) and cut into bite sized pieces. Grate the cucumbers, jicama, and radishes using the largest holes on a box grater. Combine the grated vegetables, lentils, and dill in a large bowl. Cut avocados in half and add i half avocado to the jar of a blender. Add rice wine vinegar, olive oil, reserved garlic and shallot, and remaining teaspoon sea salt and puree. If the mixture is too thick add the water a little bit at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
Toss the greens with the lentil mixture and some dressing (you may not want all of it so add it a bit at a time) and toss to coat. Cut remaining 1 1/2 avocados into bite sized pieces and toss with salad. Queeze lime over salad and serve immediately.