Like most people I talk to, I’ve been trying to work my way through my super-stocked pantry and freezer. Last week a couple days before I went shopping, I took a look around my kitchen for any items on hand that would make a decent lunch. I found a bag of Pardina lentils tucked away in the back of the pantry, and some kale and a couple green apples in the fridge. I also grabbed an onion from the pantry, and along with a flavorful dressing made from basic fridge staples, it was an easy, delicious meal.
If you’re not familiar with them, Pardina lentils are also called Spanish brown lentils, and they are a bit smaller than other green or brown lentils. They hold their shape well when cooked so they’re great for a salad, not to mention their lovely nutty flavor. Of course you could substitute another type of lentil if you want, but the flavor will change a bit; also, be sure you adjust the cooking time, since most varieties cook faster than the Pardina variety (even though Pardina lentils are smaller).
When I was conjuring up the idea for this salad in my mind, I initially thought I’d add crumbled Feta or shaved Parmesan on top. After one taste I knew this salad was perfect as-is, with its simple, bright flavors shining through and reflecting its perfectly green color. Of course a little cheese wouldn’t hurt at all, but if you decide to add a salty cheese, I’d cut back a little on the salt added to the dressing (maybe start with around 1/2 teaspoon).