- 1 pound lentils (about 2 1/3 cups)
- 1 small onion, halved
- 1 carrot, halved
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 4 tablespoons red- or white-wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds spinach, stems removed, leaves washed well (about 3 1/2 quarts)
- 1/4 pound aged cheddar cheese
How to make this recipe
- In a medium pot, combine the lentils, onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaf, and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain; discard the onion, carrot, garlic, and bay leaf.
- In a small frying pan, toast the pecans over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Or toast them in a 350° oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Chop them.
- In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add the oil slowly, whisking.
- Shred half the spinach and put in a large glass or stainless-steel bowl. Add the hot lentils and toss with half the dressing, the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss the mixture gently until the spinach wilts.
- Toss the remaining spinach into the remaining dressing and put on plates. Top with the lentil mixture and the toasted pecans. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the cheese over the top.
This salad, with its lentils and rich cheddar, can easily stand up to a fruity red wine. A Petite Sirah's roasted-berry flavors make it just right for the part.