- 1 cup brown lentils (could substitute green or black*)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 cups water
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Or add everything to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. Vinaigrette can be made a day or so in advance and refrigerated.
Add 4 cups water to a medium pot, bring to a boil, and then add the 2 teaspoons salt and lentils. Return to a boil, give the lentils a stir, and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 15-25 minutes. (See notes below.) Drain immediately and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle a little of the vinaigrette over the warm lentils as they will absorb a little extra flavor when warm. (If you are cooking fresh rice for this recipe, you can do the same with the warm rice.)
Stir in the rice, celery or cucumber, carrots, bell pepper, onions or scallions, and parsley if using. If using the optional feta or olives, you may add them now, too. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette and gently toss to combine. At this point, the salad can be covered and refrigerated for several hours.
When ready to serve, top the salad with tomatoes, greens of choice, avocado, and nuts or seeds as desired. Enjoy!
*Cooking time will vary depending on type of lentil chosen, age of lentils, and precise level of heat. Start tasting regularly after 15 minutes to ensure perfectly cooked, intact, and mush-free lentils. Also note that red and yellow lentils will cook in less than 15 minutes. Those varieties are best suited for use in soups and stews.
**You may omit the rice and cook an additional 1/2 cup of the dry lentils. When cooking 1-1/2 cups of lentils, start with 6 cups water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt.