The weather might have only cooperated for a few days so far, but summer is definitely on its way! In honor of the (very slowly) changing weather, this month’s Recipe ReDux theme Small Plates for Sunny Days. This immediately made me think of light food, perfect for eating outside on the patio or in the park for a picnic.
I’ve been playing around with the idea of a lentil mushroom salad for a while now, and for some reason it always makes me think of picnics. This salad is a breeze to throw together, tastes great either cold or room temperature, and travels well to the park. The lemony dressing makes it bright while the red pepper flakes give it just a hint of a spice. This is a great starter to a meal, or if you want to make it a little heartier, serve it to fewer people, add some avocado, and call it the main dish.
What small plates are you making for your sunny days?
Mushroom Lentil Salad
Serves 4 as a salad, 2 as a main, adapted from Delicious Everyday
1/2 cup dried French lentils
2 cups water
1 large clove of garlic, quartered
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pint mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bella, but white button mushrooms would also work well)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 handfuls of arugula
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Add the lentils, water, and large clove of garlic to a small pot. Bring to a boil, them reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes, depending on how al dente you like your lentils. Drain and set aside.
2. While the lentils cook, heat a non stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, then the sliced mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their juices. Turn the heat up to high to dry/sear the mushrooms. You will have to keep a close eye to make sure they don’t burn. When the mushrooms are dry, add in the minced garlic and cook, while stirring, for about 1 minute. The garlic should be fragrant, but not browned. Immediately remove from heat.
3. As the musrooms are cooking, whisk together the remaining olive oil with the lemon juice, red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, and mustard in a medium sized bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. When everything is done cooking, toss the mushrooms, lentils, and arugula with the vinaigrette in the medium bowl. Serve room temperature or cold.