The Best Lentil Salad, Ever

I can’t believe that I haven’t posted this recipe before. With picnic season in full swing here, I suddenly realized that I’ve been keeping this unbelievable salad recipe all to myself! This dish is probably one of the most-cooked meals in my household, and in my opinion, the only lentil salad recipe you will ever need. I love it so much in fact, it’s being served at my wedding in August. Enough said.
This dish was first served to me by my fabulous friend Mia who is a phenomenal cook in her own right, and I love going to her house to eat because she has such a beautiful understanding of how to make healthy food taste amazing. She also purchases very high quality ingredients, and is not afraid to experiment in the kitchen – two qualities I admire very much.

This lentil salad recipe is no exception. The flavours of this dish are totally outstanding, yet unexpected. The ingredient list may seem a little long, but after closer inspection you’ll notice that it is mostly just spices, ten of them to be exact. It is this special combination of flavours that creates a truly remarkable salad that is lip-smackingly tasty and totally addictive.
I should also mention that this salad is the perfect picnic food, as it transports well and is a superb make-ahead meal – ten times tastier the day after! It keeps in the fridge very well for 2-3 days.

The star of the show is the delectable “Du Puy” lentil, sometimes referred to as “the poor man’s caviar”. Du Puy lentils are quite a bit smaller than green or brown lentils, and are revered for their ability to retain their shape after being cooked. Green, brown, and red lentils are great in soups because they are soft, mushy, and tend to fall apart, but those would be less-than-perfect choices for a sophisticated salad. Du Puy lentils work better in salads than in soups and stews because they tend to be a little more robust, and when cooked properly, they will retain just a little tooth. You can find these lovely legumes at any quality grocery store, natural food, or health food store, just make sure they say Du Puy – otherwise they are a French lentil knockoff. Sacré bleu!

Fill up on Folate
Lentils are one of the yummiest sources of folate (also know as folic acid) – just one cup of cooked lentils provides you with almost 90% of your daily recommended intake! And why is folate so important? You’ve probably heard about this vital vitamin in regards to pregnancy, as it is critical in the prevention of birth defects. Folate also functions to support red blood cell production and help prevent anemia, allows nerves to function properly, helps prevent osteoporosis-related bone fractures, and helps prevent dementias including Alzheimer’s disease.

Folate received its name from the Latin word folium, meaning “foliage”, so it’s not wonder that other excellent sources of folate are dark leafy greens (yum, your favorite!) – kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, beet greens, mustard greens, parsley, and collards to name a few. This may explain why North American diets seem to be on the deficient end of things when it comes to this B-vitamin, as folic acid is available from fresh, unprocessed food. The good news is it is easily absorbed, used, and stored by the body. Folic acid is also manufactured by intestinal bacteria (remember those probiotics?), so if colon flora is healthy, we have another good source of folic acid.

The Best Lentil Salad, Ever
Ingredients:
2 ¼ cups (1 lb.) Du Puy lentils
1 medium red onion, diced
1 cup dried currants (you could also use raisins or other dried fruit)
1/3 cup capers

Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. strong mustard
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

Optional add-ins:
Arugula
Walnuts
Goat cheese
Fresh herbs: flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, basil
Sprouts
Crispy seasonal veggies

Directions:
1. Rinse lentils well, drain. Place in a pot and cover with a 3-4 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Check lentils for doneness after 15 minutes, but they should take about 20 minutes in total. You will know they are cooked if they still retain a slight tooth – al dente! Overcooking the lentils is the death of this dish. Be careful!
2. While the lentils are simmering, make the dressing by placing all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine.
3. Finely dice red onion – the salad is best if all the ingredients are about the same size. If using raisins, chop them roughly to make them a bit smaller, and do the same with the capers if they are large.
4. When the lentils are cooked, remove from heat, drain and place under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled slightly but still a little warm, place lentils in a large serving bowl and toss with dressing. Add other onion, capers, and currants. If using other add-ins such as herbs, greens, or cheese, wait until just before serving. Otherwise, this salad can hang out in the fridge for a couple days.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com

152 comments

  1. Pingback: Moroccan Lentil Salad
  2. Leah

    I’ve been making a version of this about once a week for the past several months — so good, and a nice quick weekday option. I omit the currants and toss in a lot of extras — arugula, tomatoes, snap peas, tofu, walnuts — for a one-dish meal. Thanks for the recipe inspiration!

    • Kirsty

      Mmmm I do the same…it’s my go to dish when I need an everything hit! And I make enough for my work lunch for the next couple of days. A little bit of effort, but the end result is SO worth it. Seriously LOVE this salad! Thanks for the inspiration Sarah. X

  3. Pingback: Airplane Food + Dark Chocolate Chunk, Coconut, & Banana Cookies | missmaggiepops
  4. Ram

    I just made this for a vegan potluck supper. It is so good I couldn’t stop eating it myself. When I saw all the ingredients I couldn’t imagine how it would come out, but somehow everything blends together very nicely. At the same time there is a different texture/flavor in every bite. Definitely a keeper.

  5. Maryanne

    The salad is delicious and I make it for BBQs, kid’s lunch boxes, adult’s lunch boxes and ready in the fridge for a great addition to a mid week meal. Delicious, healthy and easy.

  6. Cake

    How many servings is your salad please?
    I’m serving six as side for grilled cheese sandwiches (at Burning Man) for an art build crew. This looks great.
    Cheers!

  7. Katie

    This is absolutely amazing. I’m thinking of adding or subbing some quinoa to get my complete protein + whole grain needs checked off, any ideas for ratios?

  8. new thetahealing

    I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everyone else
    encountering issues with your blog. It appears like some of the text in your posts are running off the screen. Can someone
    else please provide feedback and let me know
    if this is happening to them as well? This may be a problem
    with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Kudos

    • evelyn

      I copy the recipe into my text programs instead of printing from the website. It’s much nicer to read that way and no problem with text running off the screen

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  15. Natalie

    This was a huge hit. I included roasted cubes of sweet potato for a little colour and goat cheese. WONDERFUL!

  16. qayaqgirl

    THIS IS AN AMAZING RECIPE! I never thought the words amazing and lentils could be in the same sentence. I’ve been looking for cheapish, healthy lunches, that can be made in advance, and that are good at room temperature for on the go. Only change I made was adding cooked brown rice when I’m serving (I think if I added to the mix and let sit in fridge maybe would get too gummy). such a great balance of flavors. My grocery list says “lentils x4″ i.e. enough to make this every week for a month :) Thanks so much for sharing.

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  19. Simone

    Ah, just one question, how much is 1 cup dried fruits in gramm? When I made this salad the first time, I had only 125 gr. redcurrants. And the second time, I have added all the raisins I had at home, around 210 gr., and this seems too much. Asking google, it says 1 cup = 240 gr. but looking at the amount of raisins I used last time, that sounds far too much to me.
    Many thx in advance for your answer.
    Rgds, Simone

  20. Simone

    Dear Sarah,
    I found your website via Okka Rohd’s Blog “Slomo”, she introduced your Big Comfy Sweet Potatoe with the Red Blanket Sauce there recently. I am so thrilled finding your site … made the this lentil salas two times within the last 2 weeks – i cannot get enough – it is absolutely terrific. And I had all spices at home already :) I have recommended your page to a couple of friends already and registered here a couple of days ago. And I have bookmarked lots of your recipes. Again … I am so thrilled finding your site. I’m looking forward to your next entries. All the best!
    Simone from Frankfurt/Germany

  21. traci

    I made this today. I can honestly say it is THE BEST COLD LENTIL SALAD I’ve ever tasted. I am a personal chef and my clients are getting this tonight. The flavors and spices and texture of this dish are absolutely delightful.

  22. Cathy

    This is a fantastic recipe. I cut down on the currants, as the end result seemed a bit sweet. I added some walnuts and feta cheese which helped offset the sweetness. Delicious!

  23. Pamela

    Definitely the best lentil salad ever. I’ve made this several times and I consistently have someone asking for the recipe. I like adding walnuts and sometimes carrots. It is so delicious I could eat it for days without ever getting tired of it. Or finish it all in one sitting. Thank you and I look forward to exploring your other recipes.

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  26. Annabelle C. Kressman

    Love the recipes, but when i print them out I get all the comments too – pages and pages of them. Annabelle

  27. Dalida

    WOW! I had one cup of cooked lentils in the fridge and I was starving tonight, so I Googled lentil salads. Your website came up among the very first ones, and since I love all your recipes and am a big fan, there was no question whose recipe will I be making tonight. And boy, was I blown away!!! The salad dressing is amazing, so balanced and flavorful! I had all ingredients, except for capers, so I subbed it with homemade pickles and black olives. Oh and no goat cheese either, but I will surely add some next time, which will be tomorrow. :-) I’ll also try it with quinoa. You should have seen me spooning the last bits of lentils from my plate… I was so sad I couldn’t have more…barely one cup was not enough of this awesomeness! Thank you so much for this one (and all the others), I’ll be making this often!

  28. Robin

    I’m going to serve this salad as the starter for my New Years lunch (01.01.14). Maybe I’ve missed this data point, but would someone please tell me what the serving yield is for this recipe. Thanks, and Happy New Year!
    NB: The French — perhaps other or all Europeans — eat lentils at New Years to promote growing wealth in the new year.

  29. http://google.com/

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    Apart from that, great blog!

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  31. Up From The Earth

    Hi there! I was so inspired by the currants and capers I had to try this recipe, even though I greatly dislike the taste of cumin! So I tweaked the dressing a bit, omitting the tumeric and cumin, and instead using a bit of fresh basil and thyme, and the caper liquid, along with some pomegranate molasses and sherry. I used some nice block feta for garnish. Thank you so much for the inspiration, what an awesome result!

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  34. Sara

    What a treat! I was weary of all of spices the recipe included at first and amount of salt, but once mixed all together, SOO AMAZING. Made this dish for a friend who just had their second child and I had to use some real self control not to take (too many) bites. Your blog is so lovely — thank you for sharing!

  35. Indirect Libre

    Love it! Definitely enjoyed it in the summer and am now enjoying the transition into fall, when fresh veggies are a little less available and I want substance-y food. Plus, I just married a Canadian and moved to Canada, so anytime I use maple syrup I get to give myself a little mental hi-five and hope that immigration will appreciate my culinary patriotism.

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  40. Judith Redding

    I tried it last week and it IS the best lentil salad ever! And it held up for days in the refrigerator. It made a really big bowl and I shared half of it with my friends and they loved too. Omg, thanks so much.

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  42. Alexanda

    Made this salad for a picnic, and it was enjoyed; It is not run of the mill salad fare, and I found the flavors very palatable. Instead of the oil, I used 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds blended with 1/3 cup of water. This worked well.

  43. Laurie Caloren

    Loved this salad and wanted to email a copy to myself but couldn’t do it. I have been loving chick peas roasted and various other ways but I think lentils will be my new “go to” vegetable/protein for dinner – mixing it up with whatever I have at home.

  44. Fran

    Love this recipe!. It’ll be nice if you could add G+ to your within your share links is easier to share with non-FB users :-)

  45. Carly

    I pinned this a long time ago and finally got around to making it today: WOW. I ended up having to use a mix of black lentils (incidentally leftover from your Reverse Universe Soup) and grocery-store French lentils because it was all I had on hand, but it was still *fantastic.* Other than that I followed the recipe exactly, adding only goat cheese as a mix-in. Sooooo much more exciting than any of the underwhelming lentil salads I’ve tried. Thanks!

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  48. Margaret

    Question: Where can I buy these Du Puy lentils online? I live in the midwest and not near health food or specialty stores. I am looking forward to trying this delicious sounding recipe. Thanks!

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  50. Heather

    Amazing! Making this to pair with my kale salad for lunch! I had a few spoonfuls and am looking forward to my brown bag tomorrow!

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  53. Alyssa

    Love this recipe– the vinaigrette is so fragrant, and I love the combination of the sweetness of the raisins with the flavors in the dressing and onions and substance of the lentils. Like many others have said– this will be my go-to lentil salad recipe in the future. Delicious!

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  55. Britta

    I came across this receipe on Buzzfeed yesterday and after work I tried it. I exchanged the du puy lentils for red ones, cooked them until they were al dente and then mixed them with the dressing. I also added some dried dates and will probably add an apple, too, but the salad, as it is, is really delicious! Thanks for the receipe!

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  59. Aislinn Grech

    This recipe has literally changed my life!! I love it. It has been a saviour for lunches on the go in a city where sandwiches/anything-fried seems to be the only option. And on long journeys when service station food is all there is…I just whip out my lentil salad and feel a bit smug that I’m not chomping on vending-machine rubbish or fast food. Winner!
    I’m not a massive onion fan so I leave out the red onion and add walnuts and sunflower seeds.

  60. Nick Grimshawe

    This is the perfect recipe for lentils. Very tasty and blends well with other salads, I had some chickpea salad and beets and apple salad with in over greens with a lovely slice of home made rustic Tuscan bread drizzled with my best olive oil and a touch of sea salt: All consumed alfresco on a beautiful sunny afternoon while gazing out at the sparkling waters of the lake.

    Nick

  61. Jess

    Very delicious!!! So happy to have discovered this recipe. Even my lentil skeptic husband enjoyed – bonus! Thanks for sharing.

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  63. Erica

    DELICIOUS!!!! I’m so glad there is so much of it left, so we can enjoy this over and over for the next few days! The tip of my tongue is still tingling from the amazing blend of spices. Absolutely mouth-watering.
    I opted for raisins in the place of currants, and before serving added arugula, goat cheese, and walnuts. AMAZING! Thank you for sharing!!

  64. Amy

    This was LOVELY! Loved the dressing but may cut the salt next time. Loved the capers! I used raisins which I chopped finely. I added chopped red pepper and served on a bed of arugula and pea shoots with feta on top for dinner last night. I had some of the lentil salad for lunch today and it was even better! What a keeper! And such wonderfully healthy spices too!

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  66. Antonia

    This is truly the best lentil salad I’ve ever eaten. I omitted the black and red pepper for my kids’ sake, along with the capers and currants. I substituted a large, sauteed leek for the onion and added a big handful of chopped cilantro at the end. It was fabulous for dinner, served over warm farro with a squeeze of lemon. My daughters devoured it and took the leftovers to school for their lunch today.

    Love your blog!

  67. zsofi

    It is truly the best! I am totally addicted to it to be honest. Today I actually used the seasoning to create my first ever lentil dip (with a bit more mustard and some oat flour), and it is still awesome!
    Thank you!

  68. jessica

    oh, and there weren’t any red onions, so i used a shallot instead – works just great, as far as i can taste. (-:

  69. jessica

    i’ve tried a bunch of lentil salads, and this one knocks the socks off of ALL the rest. i wasn’t sure about all the spices in the dressing, but it’s quite heavenly and perfect. i made this with 3:1 lentils:pearl barley and threw in a roasted sweet potato. then added arugula, walnuts, and goat cheese. WOW! i will be making this all summer. i’m eating it as i write this…oooh the cayenne is so nice. you’re the best, sarah!

  70. Nicole

    I’ve been so tired of green lentil soups so I wanted to make a fresh cold lentil salad w/a different type of lentil. This is the best lentil salad I’ve ever had. From the warm spices to the refreshing bite of the vinegar and capers it was perfectly balanced. I will make this my new household staple. Thanks for making me feel like eating healthy is delicious!

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  73. clare

    Sarah, I love your food and this salad is just amazing. What other recipes do you have that you think are as special as this one? You’ve used the word ‘best’ very appropriately.

  74. Ally

    I was skeptical about this recipe because the flavors are indeed unexpected. I would never think to pair all those spices together, but that’s what drew me in (and Sarah B.’s recipes never disappoint)!

    This was so tasty. I added lots of cucumber, subbed cranberries for currants, added raw kale, and served it topped with avocado, toasted walnuts, and hemp seeds. I halved it and it made around 6 generous servings (I think); regardless, halving the recipe still makes a lot. I plan on only making the full recipe for large gatherings like parties and potlucks.

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  76. Patricia

    Amazing! I was heavy-handed with the cayenne and turmeric….threw in roasted butternut squash and the goat cheese, arugula and walnuts as suggested……divine!

  77. Virginia

    Sarah, I love your blog and I LOVE this salad. I just wanted to share my new favourite ingredient: cilantro sprouts (often available at your local health food store). They add the perfect texture and flavor.

  78. ikigaigirl

    This is now my go-to lentil salad recipe. At first I thought it was too big, but found myself eating it straight out of the salad bowl every time I passed the fridge. So glad I found your beautiful blog.

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  84. Falcon

    I´ve never been a big lentil salad fan- but I LOVE this and I have made it twice already, adding in red pepper and cabbage. Season´s greetings and keep up the good work!

  85. Anonymous

    My goodness this was so darn yummy. I had to make some substitutions (green lentils, dates and balsamic vinegar) because I was missing some items. Will make again and again.

  86. Katie

    You are not kidding when you say this is the best. I could not agree more. The flavors are dynamic without being overpowering. And it’s versatility would allow you to take it on a picnic but also dress it up with toasted nuts and crumbly cheese for a dinner party side. Lovely.

  87. Anonymous

    This was so tasty, thank you. Mmm mmm such a surprise of flavours and it goes with anything (I also home-smoked some salmon and they went very well together!).

  88. Hilary

    Holy moly. I was skeptical at first, but this dressing is dy-no-mite!! I only added 1 tsp each of salt n peppa, and was a little shy with the spices but kept up the ratio. mmmmmmmmmm so damn good! Thanks Sarah!

  89. Sarah

    Hello Sarah,

    I made your lentil salad last week and it was just great!
    In general, I love mixing ingredients that might at first sight seem a little exotic together, that´s why this salad absolutely suits my taste. I hadn´t thought that all the spices in the dressing work soo well together.
    And congratulations to your great blog, I will get further inspiration here (and information).
    Best regards,
    Sarah

  90. Anonymous

    Looks great! My Mom’s lentil recipe is JUST as good and addictive!

    Nancy’s Lentil Salad:

    Cooked lentils (any kind will do)
    Red onion, minced finely
    One bunch of italian parsley, finely minced

    Dressing for lentils:

    minced garlic
    red wine vinegar
    oil
    dijon mustard
    a little powder ranch mix

    Mix the dressing in a jar and pour over lentils, onion and parsley. Soooooo good! When she makes this I literally eat 3 cups of lentils in one sitting!!!

    -Natalie Casados

  91. Lissie

    THANK YOU!

    I echo many of the above comments. My mother needs to eat a lot more of the ‘hardcore’ vegetarian foods for health reasons. She loved this, along with a few others delights shared on the website. The nutritional information written is also brilliant. Thanks again! :-)

  92. mnewsomphotography

    This salad REALLY is amazing. We made it yesterday and LOVE it. THank you. Also, I am so happy I found your blog. It’s absolutely beautiful and full of wonderful information. Thank you for all the time you put into it.

  93. Ripatine

    This recipe rocked my socks off! The vinaigrette is mind-blowingly good and really works with lentils. Did this one with tart dried cherries (cause I couldn’t find dried currants); added minced carrots and celery, chopped parsley, and goat cheese. Goat cheese is beautiful in this salad, and I saw someone’s comment about pomegranate seeds, which would also be amazing. Will definitely make this again!

  94. T. Thomas

    I made this salad for fathers day and it was amazing. I followed the recipe except I doubled the olive oil and spice mixture becuase it was a little dry with amounts provided. The goat cheese and celery were perfect additions. Im eating it today, on the third day, and it is even better. I served it with butter seared scallop and it was a hit!!! Next time I will increase the amount of capers, add carrots, and make it a day or two before it is to be served.

  95. Anonymous

    Oh Em Geeeeee! This baby rocks!!!
    I added lemon and sumac and from this day forward I vow to always have some of this in my fridge :)

  96. AmyM

    I made this for a school potluck recently and everyone loved it- even the somewhat elderly, diabetic (mean) security guard. Keeper. I chopped up fresh tomato and cucumber in it.

  97. Carita Feliz

    I made this salad sometime last week and am still eating it. Tonight I roasted broccoli with olive oil, and salt, then mixed it up finely chopped with the salad. Added a squeeze of lemon and some flax oil and I was set! Best lentil salad with broccoli ever!

  98. Andrew

    Just made this as part of a diet drive. Wife and myself loved it! A real middle eastern twist those spices and the Le Puy lentils themselves were delicious (couldn’t ever imagine writing that!).

    Many thanks.

  99. Iren

    I made this lentil salad for tonight, with fresh creamy coat cheese and cilantro in addition. My husband was almost blown away and said: this is the best lentil salad ever! – I said: I know, Sarah already said so… :-)

    THANKS for sharing this wonderful recipe! – My kitchen is so much enriched by your blog, you are my BIG discovery!

    Good night from Iren, who is soaking almonds for fresh milk tomorrow…

  100. sarah

    i adapted the best lentil salad ever into the best dolma filling ever!! took the tip of adding goats cheese, plus many sprigs of fresh herbs and served with orange or pomegranate seeds
    thankyou!!

  101. neigeblanche

    Made this for lunch and it was A-AMAZING! I feel all zingy this afternoon and I think it might be something to do with all the wonderful spices that went into the dressing. Love this site more and more each day.

  102. Anonymous

    That is one amazing salad.
    It doesnt happen often when something labeled ‘the best’ actually delivers.

    I didnt have cloves. But it still worked greatly.

  103. AG

    I made this salad and the flavor from the spice blend was definitely harmonious, but slightly intense. I found that mixing it considerably with some quinoa was an excellent and, for me, necessary merge for this salad.

  104. Anonymous

    I am making this salad for about the fifth or sixth time. Every time I make it I end up sending the link to your blog to a whole bunch of people because everyone goes NUTS over it. Seriously good. I have made several other recipes from your blog since and have loved them all. Keep up the amazing work!

  105. Pamela

    I was a little skeptical about a lentil salad actually being delicious, but I can confidently say that I have now made this salad TWICE. I’ve halved the recipe both times and I quite seriously need to put aside half and put it in the fridge to stop myself consuming the whole thing in one sitting. You really weren’t kidding… it’s amazing.

  106. Maria

    I just made a lentil salad based on your recipe and it was so delicious! Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful recipes, and inspiring others to live healthier!

  107. Julie the Alkaline Girl

    Sarah, I have been looking for a lentil recipe that looks like I want to try it and this sounds delish! They are sooo good for you that I hope I can convince the kids to try this too! Thanx for sharing your fave!

  108. Sarah

    I have been reading your other blog for awhile and I don’t know why it took me so long to click over to this one. It’s inspiring! I am going to print out lots of your recipes to try. I think my stomach will thank me for it.

  109. Dorte

    Hi,
    I came across your blog a little while ago.
    Made the lentils the other day and wow, they were good. Havn’t seen DuPuy lentils yet here in Vienna, but I used beluga lentils that keep the bite too.
    By the way, I also tried your sexy spring rolls with the sweet potato filling and the bean buttter … really yummy too. Thanks a lot for sharing and I look forward to your next recipes :)

  110. Zom G.

    Al dente lentils are a revelation for me! They were incredible with the nicely spiced vinaigrette. My toddler had a ton of fun nibbling on the cardamom pods and shaking the jar, so thanks for the yums and the fun!

  111. jacqui

    Congrats on your upcoming wedding! I’m going to have to make this very soon, it sounds so good! Then I’ll finish with a raw chocolate milkshake, yum.

  112. hearblack.

    we love lentil salads, and i’ve bookmarked this for when we are back home.

    your new (to me) blog layout looks awesome!
    i usually just follow through google reader so i hadn’t seen the blog header and side bar. e

    just wanted to let you know it looks perfect.
    fresh, simple, and classy

    best,

    nate

  113. Caiti

    This looks (and sounds) delicious, and I haven’t used Du Puy lentils in my cooking yet. I will definitely be trying this soon!

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