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my evolution of taste

Recipe: warm lentil salad with sausage

Jeremy and I have been trying to wake up earlier in the mornings. We both get a lot done in the early hours when fewer people are awake to interrupt a good work flow. This requires getting to bed earlier. That would be the logical thing to do… except I am also very productive at night. What ends up happening (for me, anyway) is that I stay up working late and wake up early. Despite how much I loathe sleep, after a few days of this wacky schedule I become tired and irate and my head hurts.

I’m tired and irate and my head hurts.

Okay, I’m tired and my head hurts, but I am in rather good spirits. Apparently, I just registered for BlogHer Food 2010. I can’t WAIT to see what they will be serving for lunch! You will most certainly hear all about lunch and my wacky hijinx come October…

happily, i paused for a moment to shoot this lovely sight

Let’s get to the recipe – chop chop! I bought some French lentils about a year ago because they were so pretty. I had never cooked with French lentils before, but their beautiful mottled greens and browns and blacks shouted at me from the bulk section of Whole Foods, “Scoop us! Bag us! Take us home!”

dried du puy lentils or french lentils

thyme, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves

Lentils are my friends. You see, not only do I love to eat them, but I love to prepare them because they don’t get all wigged out at high elevations. Each time I’ve tried cooking with dried beans up here, the texture is wrong and so is the relationship with our GI tracts. I know the solution would be to get a pressure cooker, but I can’t think about a pressure cooker right now because I’m cranky from lack of sleep. Besides, this is forcing me to explore more lentil recipes.

ready to simmer the lentils

diced sausage and drained lentils

I found this recipe purely by accident. I was re-stacking my Fine Cooking magazines to make some room on a shelf when several issues went sliding onto the floor. What a mess. As I gathered them up I saw a recipe on the back cover. Warm lentil salad. That sounded fantastic. I know I saw that recipe back in 2007 and I know lentils meant little to me then. It’s good to revisit those old archives because my tastes change over time and things I didn’t think twice about a few years ago really catch my attention today.

browned sausage

scallions and parsley

My version of the salad is slightly simpler only because I didn’t want to be bothered with opening a bottle of wine. Not to mention, my mouth watered at the thought of browning the sausage and all of that great flavor getting mixed into the salad rather than simmering away. I’m sure the original recipe is great too. I’m sure of it.

whisk the vinaigrette

toss the lentils, dressing, and sausage together

We thoroughly enjoy our salads in this house, but we don’t eat warm salads too often. That will have to change starting with this lentil salad because the texture of the little lentils giving way under my teeth makes me want to laugh. It’s FUN to eat. Jeremy compared it to munching on a mouthful of mini m&m’s. I’m not sure when he ate a whole mouthful of mini m&m’s (ewww!), but I assure you that the salad is WAY better than that. The flavor has a fresh bite from the greens, a tang from the dressing, this delightful salty-smokey accent courtesy of the sausage, and that mellow earthiness you get from the lentils. Make a double batch because it will disappear quickly.

finish it off with the scallions and parsley

hey folks, it’s time to eat

Warm French Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage
[print recipe]
modified (some would say butchered) from Fine Cooking issue #84

1 1/2 cups (10 oz.) French lentils (also known as du Puy lentils)
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 tsp black peppercorns, whole
1 small onion, peeled
1 small carrot, peeled and split lengthwise (forgot to do that)
8 oz. smoked sausage (kielbasa works)
1 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth (I omitted this – too lazy to open a bottle)
2 1/2 tbsps red wine vinegar, more as needed
2 tsps Dijon mustard
kosher salt
3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsps walnut oil (didn’t have this on hand, so I used olive oil)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Pick over and rinse lentils. Stuff the thyme, bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns in a pouch of cheesecloth or some little spice bag. Place lentils in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan with the sachet of seasonings, the onion, and carrot. Fill with cold water until the lentils are covered by about two inches of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer uncovered for about 30-40 minutes. Add more water as needed. So the recipe says to place the sausage in a pan and cover with wine and enough water by about 1/2 inch and simmer it on low heat for about 15-20 minutes. [I didn’t do that because I’m a bum. Instead, I cut up the sausage and browned it in a pan. Hey, make it your own, I say!] In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 tablespoons of the vinegar with the mustard and a dash of salt. Then pour the olive oil and walnut oil (I just had olive oil) in a slow and steady stream, whisking to incorporate into the vinegar and mustard. Season to taste with salt. Drain the lentils and discard the pouch, carrot, and onion. Place the lentils in a large bowl and toss with a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of vinegar. If you simmered the sausage then drain it and slice it into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Add the sausage and vinaigrette to the lentils, tossing to coat. Stir in the parsley and scallions, then season to taste with black pepper, salt, and vinegar. Serve warm. Serves 4-6.

39 nibbles at “my evolution of taste”

  1. barbara says:

    I love lentils but Bryan doesn’t so I never cook them. Pity ‘cos this sounds delicious.

  2. Ainhoa says:

    I really enjoy lentils – here in Spain we usually have with chorizo instead of sausage though. Your photos are awesome as always!

  3. Laura says:

    I actually bought lentils for a similar reason: they looked so beautiful in the bin at Whole Foods. And I actually used mine recently too: Curried lentil soup with coconut milk. I’ll have to try your salad sometime :)

  4. Caitlin says:

    I adore lentils, but I’ve never been able to find du Puy ones. May need an emergency 2 hr trip to the nearest Whole Foods….. And I’m in the same boat as Barbara – the fiance doesn’t like lentils or any type of bean, which makes me sad. Ah well, I’ve got a lot of years to convince him of their awesomeness!

  5. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary says:

    I just picked up some French lentils at Whole Foods this weekend. I usually use them for soup, but this looks really good.

  6. Fiona says:

    YUM! That looks amazing.

    And while I’m emerging from lurkerdom – it’s so nice that you feature a lot of savory recipes. I love foodgawker, but there are times when I feel overwhelmed by the cupcakes. A bowl of lentils and sausage is *just the thing* for those times.

  7. skimmy says:

    so NOT a warm lentil salad household but your pictures and writing have got me wanting to try this tonight!

  8. carstenq says:

    Thanks for sharing these pics. I really feel hungry!



  9. thedelishdish says:

    i love how well lentils and sausage go together! this looks delish!

  10. Rosa says:

    Lentils are so versatile and delicious! That is the kind of salad I love to devour!



  11. Manggy says:

    Way better than a mouthful of mini M&M’s? What a thought!! I’d love to try this, then! Hee hee :)
    I hope you do get a pressure cooker soon. I don’t use ours much because of the paucity of recipes, but I like the idea of cooking more efficiently in terms of time and energy (at least relatively).

  12. Michelle says:

    We make this all.the.time in our house. It goes so quickly, I have to make twice as much. When my husband brings it to work, he loses half of it to his co-workers.

    I like how you quartered your sausage pieces. I’m going to do that from now on. I’ve been just cooking up disks of kielbasa.

  13. marianne says:

    This recipe reminds me of my grandma cooking lentils for me and brings back all sorts of great memories. I’m stealing this recipe from you!

  14. my spatula says:

    french green lentils are my favorite variety – and with a nice smoked sausage? how perfect!! gorgeous photos!

  15. TheKitchenWitch says:

    I don’t ever think to eat warm salads, either. This one looks worth the effort!

  16. Ruth Ann says:

    Looks amazing! I know that my husband would adore this recipe too. Happy eating!

  17. Lady Aggie says:

    Oh, WOW! That looks amazing!! I’ll have to try this one. Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. Mulan says:

    ANYTHING with sausages is good…! xxx

  19. Georgia.Pellegrini says:

    normally I don’t find myself saying this about lentils, but this looks delicious. I love sausage in soup. case closed.

  20. Krista says:

    I’m a huge fan of lentils too! Just picked up some lovely green ones for Ethiopian dahl. Mmmm. Your salad looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it. :-) I even have sausage!!

  21. Lori says:

    Hmmm. You know, I just love beans. The older I get the more I love them and the less I like meat. A little meat to accent but give me beans. This looks very delicious. I would be so happy with a bowl of these.

  22. Unplanned Cooking says:

    Great photos! That’s what happens to me; I mean to go to bed early, but them some idea gets in my brain and I can’t shut it off, so I get up and work on whatever I’m thinking about.

  23. Abby says:

    That’s almost too pretty to eat! Almost.

    One day I’ll make it to BlogHer Food. But the price is a wee bit steep for me this year! Perhaps in 2011…

  24. Warm lentil salad with sausage recipe | use real butter | Golda Raphael's Blog says:

    […] February 4th, 2010 via […]

  25. Melissa says:

    “because the texture of the little lentils giving way under my teeth makes me want to laugh.”

    I can totally imagine what that felt like.

    And I understand about the evolving tastes. That happens to me all the time, as my learning has progressed so rapidly. Glad you found something to get excited about that had previously gone to the “uh, I don’t think so” pile.

  26. Nan says:

    I adore lentils too! Some of my favorite quickie meals are made with lentils. Looks like this one will be added to my list of lentil goodies. Great photos too…

  27. Dani says:

    Mmm. This looks delicious.

  28. Tartelette says:

    My dad would say Amen to this. One of his signature dishes is a warm lentil salad he makes with leftover petit sale (salted pork dish).

    I can eat this by the bucket :)

  29. ButterYum says:

    What wonderful photos! I really love lentils, so this is a winner in my book!


  30. Dave says:

    Lookin’ real good.

    Next time I make lentils, sausage will definatly be included in the mix.

  31. Angeline says:

    I tried this last night, and it was amazing. Green lentils at Whole Foods aren’t too expensive either! This is a delicious way to get fiber into your diet. I will be having this more often.

  32. Dandy says:

    I can’t believe I just found you and I absolutely adore your blog!

    And I’ll be stalking you at Blogher Food. :)

  33. Allison says:

    You had me at sausage. :) Sounds perfect for winter nights. This recipe has definitely been bookmarked.

  34. Aran says:

    one of my favorite things to eat in the whole world are lentils cooked in any way shape or form. this has my name written all over it!

  35. jenyu says:

    Caitlin – I’ve only ever found them at Whole Foods around here. Even if Jeremy didn’t like lentil salad, I’d still make it for myself :)

    Fiona – after baking sweets, I don’t even want to LOOK at them anymore. But I’m always ready for some savories!

    Manggy – oh yeah, pressure cooker… that’s going to be a while since I just spent ALL OF OUR MONEY ;) xoxo

    Tartelette – love those French recipes!!

  36. Thoughts. « amyelizabethamy says:

    […] I made this for dinner. Delicious. Tomorrow I will make Brussels Sprouts, so that should be […]

  37. Cynthia A says:

    Yum! I’m tucking into a bowl of this right now, and it is so good. I didn’t get out to my local health-food store to find the elusive french lentils, but don’t let that hold you back if you can only find the regular brown ones – it’s still really tasty! Growing up, my best friend was German, and so I have very fond memories of eating ham & lentil soup with vinegar stirred in, so this warm salad with vinaigrette is hitting just the right flavours for me. Thank you for posting this, and I’ll try it with the tiny lentils next time I spot them!

  38. Lollie says:

    I have a package of beautiful beluga lentils and i’ve been toying with how i should use them. I think i’m going to do something based on your recipe. Thanks for the yummy ideas!

  39. Jen's sausage and lentils — pork, knife & spoon says:

    […] On that blog, Jen just posted an enticing, step-by-step guide to making this warm French lentil salad with smoked sausage. […]

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