Updated: Aug 31
This protein-packed herbaceous lentil salad is absolutely delicious and makes great use of those fantastic grilled grapes we mentioned a few weeks ago. We came up with it as a side dish for the Chicken Kebobs with Lemon Olive Gremolata we shared last week, but it is a very versatile dish. Serve atop arugula or mixed greens for added nutrition and freshness or add your favorite protein and you have a complete meal. This salad can be made ahead, is perfect for picnics and potlucks, and can easily be made vegetarian as well. Simply omit the pancetta - we recommend adding chopped smokehouse almonds in its place.
It pairs really nicely with our Reverence grenache blend if you are wanting a red, but the combination of this salad and our Winemaker’s Select Rosé is out-of-the-stratosphere amazing!
NOTE: This is recipe two in a three-part series. While each can be enjoyed individually, all three served together would make for an epic end of summer party!
Lentil Salad with Grilled Grapes
Recipe by Tanya Miller, inspired by Milkstreet’s Garlicky Lentil and Parsley Salad
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp clove
1 c dried beluga or French green lentils (they hold their shape better than regular lentils and have a lovely texture and appearance)
2 1/2 c water
¼ c lemon juice
~ 2 medium shallots or 1/4-1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
~½ bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley, roughly destemmed
~ 2 oz goat cheese
~ 1 cup grilled grapes (Grill grapes according to instructions in Grilled Grapes with Goat Cheese recipe)
Garnish: 3 Tbsp chopped chives, sprinkle of Aleppo pepper (smoked if possible) and flaky sea salt, if desired
Optional: 1 pkg pancetta, ideally cooked on BBQ or grill pan (see note at bottom) or 1/2 c smokehouse almonds, chopped
In a pan, combine smashed garlic and 2 Tbsp olive oil on low heat. Cook, stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.
Add cumin, cloves and ½ tsp salt. Stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Remove garlic and set aside to use for dressing later. Add lentils to the same pan and stir until well combined.
Add water, stir, bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender but still holds its shape - approx 30 minutes.
While the lentils cook, combine the shallots or red onion and lemon juice (to mellow the onion flavor) in a small bowl. Chop the parsley, slice the grilled grapes in half, and chop chives, if using.
When the lentils are done, drain and set aside to cool. Gently toss a couple of times while cooling so they don’t clump together.
For dressing: In a small food processor, add garlic from step 2, lemon juice from step 4 (not including shallot/onions), 3 Tbsp olive oil and ½ tsp salt. Blend until desired consistency.
Gently toss lentils, shallots, grilled grapes, chopped parsley, goat cheese and dressing until well combined. This salad can be mostly made up to a day ahead - but do not add the pancetta or smokehouse almonds and chives (if using) until ready to serve. This salad is best served just slightly chilled - remove from fridge about an hour before eating if making ahead of time.
Garnish with any of the following: Chives, sea salt, Aleppo pepper or chili flakes, pancetta or smokehouse almonds
Serve and enjoy with a glass of Winemaker’s Select Rosé!
Note: For the pancetta, it’s not a must to grill it on a BBQ, but boy, does it add great flavor! We highly recommend you give it a try. Place pancetta on a heavy duty quarter sheet pan, cast iron, etc. on your cooking preference. Check every 5 min or so, turning as needed to desired doneness. Place on a cooling rack or paper towel-lined plate. Chop or break into pieces and sprinkle on top of salad when ready to serve.