There are so many vegetables that are delicious just as is, just delivered from farm, to share, directly to your mouth. This salad is basically the simplest way to deliver as many elements of this week’s share just so.
Niçoise has a little bit of a seventies dinner party vibe, but the lentil element kind of elevated it for me, and every mouthful was a textural dream. The salad dressing in the recipe that inspired this take is *chef’s kiss* and will definitely be a standard for us going forward. Sometimes you need someone else to tell you exactly the ratios you need to make a simple dressing a “just right” dressing.
Ok here goes.
Lentil Fennel Niçoise Salad
- 2-4 cups lettuce
- 1-2 heads fennel bulb, chopped (save the fronds and stump in the freezer for soup stock!)
- 1-2 handfuls basil leaves, rough chopped
- 1-2 handfuls beans (green or yellow), blanched
- a bunch cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 4-6 eggs, hard-medium boiled and halved
- a bunch whole kalamata or other olives, pitted
- 3 cups cooked whole brown lentils
Salad dressing ingredients
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
Cook the lentils, but not too too much – you want them a bit toothsome, if I may say (I used our instant pot, with a ratio of 1 3/4c. water to 1c. lentils, salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil, on high pressure for 8 minutes. Then I let them naturally decompress for 10 minutes before opening the pressure valve)
Put two pots on to boil, with water well salted
Put the eggs into one, and snap the beans into bite sized lengths into the other
While those are all bubbling away, halve the tomatoes and chop the fennel and basil.
Throw all the ingredients for the dressing into a mason jar and shake.
Once the lentils are cooked, I rinsed them with cold water to stop them cooking any further and help them cool down fast for ideal salad temp.
Peel the eggs and halve them.
We served this salad "buffet style" with all the elements kind of just arranged for effect on a platter. This was great for picking and choosing how you wanted to balance your plate, and for choosing how much dressing you wanted!