WOW your Thanksgiving guests with this incredible warm salad: goodness grain and lentil

Just about anything that happens on My New Roots, I pretty much obsess over. But THIS. This is above and beyond. Spiced mustardy vinaigrette over lentils and barley, sweet potatoes, dried currants, capers (say what?!), and walnuts… The epitome of a warm fall salad.

I have reworked some parts to my own liking, and it turned out amazing. Feel free to improvise, but I hadn’t been to the grocery store in a few days, and STILL had everything (okay, just about) on hand! Here’s the recipe, via My New Roots, and be sure to head over there to read the multitude of comments (152 and counting): from rave reviews to interesting modifications, they are worth a scroll.

The Best Lentil Salad, Ever (Natalie style!)

You will need:

1 cup Du Puy lentils
1 cup barley
half of a small diced sweet potato
2 carrots rough chopped (small),
1/2 onion, diced
2 green onions, white parts thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried currants (I almost threw some fresh pomegranate seeds in there, for National Pomegranate Month)
1/3 cup capers (I may have used a bit more…)
1/2 cup walnuts

For the vinaigrette (this I kept pretty true to form)

1/3 cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. strong mustard
2 tsp. salt (I seasoned the grains and lentils, so used WAY less here)
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander (didn’t have… sniff, sniff. My FAVE)
½ tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

Optional add-ins (which I also didn’t have on hand… would have been amazing, though.):
Arugula
Goat cheese
Fresh herbs: flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, basil
Sprouts
Crispy seasonal veggies

Directions;

1.Cook barley in 3 cups of water, simmering for an hour.

2. Rinse lentils well, drain. Place in a pot with sweet potato, carrot, and onion, and cover with 1-2 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Check lentils for doneness after 15 minutes, but they should take about 20 minutes in total. You will know they are cooked if they still retain a slight tooth — al dente! Overcooking the lentils is the death of this dish. Be careful!

2. While the lentils are simmering, make the dressing by placing all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine.

3. Finely dice green onion — the salad is best if all the ingredients are about the same size. Same goes for currants and walnuts, chop them roughly to make them a bit smaller, and do the same with the capers if they are large.

4. When the lentils and barley are cooked, remove from heat, drain, and place under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled slightly but still a little warm, place lentils and barley in a large serving bowl and toss with dressing. Add other onion, capers, walnuts, and currants. If using other add-ins such as herbs, greens, or cheese, wait until just before serving. Otherwise, this salad can hang out in the fridge for a couple days.

Once again, all hail My New Roots for this lovely recipe (and the gorgeous photo of their results, too). Have fun trying my adaptation, or inventing your own.

—Natalie

Photo from My New Roots.

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