I love French green lentils, sometimes called Lentils de Puy, particularly in salads. They are quite sturdy and hold up to most any dressing. A couple roasted, cubed beets add lovely color and a sprinkling of salty pepitas and piquant minced preserved lemon infuses this faux-spring salad with some zip. I’m trying to eat more beets and pepitas since the New York Times tells me I should, along with all the other superingredients. This salad is a good start.
For four servings:
For white wine vinaigrette:
Up to 2 days before, roast the beets: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim off the ends and place the beets on a large sheet of foil. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Make a sealed packet, and place in the oven. Roast for 45-60 minutes. Let cool, peel, and cube. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Add the lentils to a pot, cover with salted water, add the carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Drain and set aside. In another pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes, just until tender. Drain, place in an ice-water bath to cool and set aside.
In a large bowl, add the cooked lentil/carrot mixture, the cubed beets, the asparagus, the preserved lemon and the pepitas. Combine thoroughly.
In a blender add all the vinaigrette ingredients and blend until thoroughly emulsified. Add the vinaigrette to the lentil salad to taste, adjusting the salt and pepper if necessary.