There is a restaurant in LA called Lemonade that makes many, many lovely salads (and of course many, many kinds of lemonade). We tried a beluga lentil salad there recently with apples and Persian cucumbers. This is my home version of the salad.
Beluga Lentil Apple Salad with Citrus Dressing (6 servings)
- 2 tablespoons Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (or some other citrusy vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ cup 80/20 oil (80% olive oil, 20% canola oil)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- 1 cup Beluga lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1 ½ cups Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced (do not peel)
- 2 medium Fuji applies, diced (do not peel – I like them diced quite small)
- ¼ cup cilantro, larger stems removed and chopped
- 1 large shallot, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup Citrus Salad Dressing
Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar. Whisk in the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Set aside.
Once the lentils are rinsed and picked over place them in a saucepan and cover them with three inches of water. Bring them to a boil and then turn them down to a simmer. Simmer them until they are cooked through but still a bit al dente. This should take between 25 and 30 minutes. Drain the lentils. Toss them with ¼ cup of the salad dressing and allow them to sit for five minutes.
In another slightly larger bowl toss together the Persian cucumbers, apples, cilantro and shallots. Once the lentils have rested for five minutes, toss everything together. Check the seasoning and then serve. I add an additional ¼ cup of the dressing at this point. This is optional – and depends on how lightly or heavily dressed you like your salad.