Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Recipe for Lentil Salad with Green Olives, Red Bell Pepper, Green Onion, and Greek Oregano

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Lentil SaladFor years I've been crazy about brown lentils, a relationship that started with Mujadara at a now long-gone Salt Lake City restaurant called Cafe Mediterranean. Since then, whenever I'm thinking about what to cook, lentils are one of those ingredients that pop into my head. This salad started with an idea of combining brown lentils and green olives, something that was new to me. Then I was inspired to add some Greek oregano from my garden, a decidedly strong flavor, but one that I really thought added an interesting twist to the salad.

Some cooks use only dried oregano, but the Greek Oregano from my garden is an herb I've really come to appreciate the more I use it. Oregano is a perennial that grows easily, and smells wonderful when it's cut. This salad with Greek Oregano is my entry for Haalo's Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Marije from Palachinka, a charming blog about Serbian food.

I drained the cooked lentils, tossed them with olive oil, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar, and let them marinate in the fridge for a few hours. You can skip this step, but it does add a lot of flavor.

I used a jar of green olives with pimento, and after I drained them I used the bowl attachment of my immersion blender to get coarsely chopped olives and pimento pieces.

Mix together lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, Spike Seasoning, and sweet paprika, then whisk in olive oil to make the dressing for the salad.

I combined the lentils, chopped red pepper, green onion, and green olives, mixed in the dressing, and then gently stirred in the chopped Greek Oregano. I'm not sure why I don't have any in-process photos that show oregano, but trust me, it's there!

Lentil Salad with Green Olives, Red Bell Pepper, Green Onion, and Greek Oregano
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

1 cup brown lentils
1 T + 1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T + 1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T + 3 T olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 jar (6 oz.) green olives
3/4 cup sliced green onion
1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
3/4 cup finely chopped Greek Oregano (or less)
salt/fresh ground black pepper to taste

Put lentils in pan with 3 cups water, bring to very low simmer, and let cook until lentils are soft. (This will be about 30 minutes, but cooking times can vary quite a bit depending on how fresh the lentils are, so just keep tasting until they're soft.)

Dump lentils into a colander and let drain about 15 minutes, then toss with 1 t each of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Let lentils marinate in the fridge for a few hours if you have time. (You can skip the marinating step if you're rushed, but at least toss the warm lentils with the oil, vinegar, and lemon and let them marinate while you prep other ingredients.)

Chop red bell pepper and green onions and place in medium-sized plastic or glass bowl. Coarsely chop olives and add to bowl. (I used the bowl attachment of my immersion blender to chop the olives, which worked very well.)

Mix together remaining 1 T lemon juice, 1 T balsamic vinegar, Spike Seasoning, and sweet paprika, then whisk in 3 T olive oil. Add marinated lentils to ingredients in the bowl and gently combine with dressing. (You may not need all the dressing, depending on how wet you prefer your salads.)

Finely chop Greek Oregano with chef's knife and gently stir into salad. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

This will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Everything in this salad is a low-glycemic ingredient, and this would be a great choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet .

More Recipes with Greek Oregano:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Lamb Souvlaki from Kalyn's Kitchen
Greek Style Roasted Mushrooms from Kalyn's Kitchen
Greek Oregano Ice Cream from Hunter Gardener Angler Cook
Greek Stuffed Tomatoes from What's For Lunch Honey
Tomato, Feta, and Oregano Panini from Panini Happy
(Want even more recipes with Greek Oregano? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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  1. Kalyn - your lentil salad looks yum!

  2. Looks devine Kalyn. I love Greek oreganum, but I normally add sundried tomatoes to my lentil and oreganum salad. Will have to try yours out.

  3. I do that to ... lentils come to mind often. I think I use them a lot almost as meat in many dishes. This looks great for a salad with grilled summer foods.

  4. Lentils and olives? I'd never have thought of it. But now I'm more disappointed than ever that my Greek oregano didn't winter over in my herb garden. I'm planning to put in a new plant or two this year, and will bookmark this recipe to try.

  5. I love lentils too. I have a huge patch of oregano in my herb garden - don't know the genus, but I'm sure it would work. Will give this a try. Thanks.

  6. I have a bag of lentils that I bought because I wanted to try them and I've been waiting for a good recipe. This salad is so vibrantly colored! I've never had Greek Oregano before.

  7. Pearl, thanks. It was unusual, but I really liked it.

    Vanielje, I think sun-dried tomatoes, lentils, and oregano sounds like a great combination!

    Tanna, aren't they just such a natural in so many dishes.

    Lydia, I wish I could send you some! My plants are thriving.

    Penny, it's probably Greek Oregano; I think that's the kind most commonly grown.

    Meghan, it's a strong flavor. Oregano is the main flavor in pizza sauce, and oregano is great with tomatoes. This is an unusual use of it, but I liked it a lot!

  8. I love lentils, they are definitely one of my favorite legumes and were the first ones I ever cooked myself. I have some green olives sitting in the fridge waiting to be used up so I think I shall have to make this, perhaps with some pitas for lunch.

  9. I have never cooked with lentils, but this recipe definitely inspires me to do so! Can't wait to try!

  10. Oh my. What a beautiful creation. I just love the idea of pairing green olives with lentils.

  11. This salad looks fabulous - I love the addition of the green olives. I always tell myself that I'm going to cook more with lentils, but never actually do it. This salad on going on my must-try list.

  12. I love lentils. I don't eat them enough. I will be trying this salad for sure!

  13. Just discovered your fantastic blog! Love the idea of using oregano fresh - I've got a really healthy plant in the garden and would like to try out recipes that incorporate these herbs.

  14. I also have a Greek oragano plant in my yard (I'm also in SLC, oragano loves Utah, perhaps?) and am looking forward to trying your fab salad with it. Cafe Mediterranean may be gone, but you can get Mujaddara and other yummy Middle Eastern dishes at the two Mazzas restaurants in Salt Lake. Thinking of their food makes me swoon, it is so good!

  15. I'm not keeping up on these comments too well, but I'm glad people are liking this.

    Maggie, I love Mazza and eat there all the time.

  16. just ate some fabulous mujaddara. i love your version of lentils. and the clay pot.

  17. What a beautiful salad you made. I could eat lentils almost every day.

  18. This appears like a very yummy salad from the image itself. Salads are very healthy and good for weight watchers also. :D

  19. Kalyn, this screams to be served at an outdoor meal and for sure at a picnic...my Greek tummy's singing.

  20. Kalyn, as someone new to South Beach, I want to express my gratitude for your marvelous blog. The info, recipes, and pictures you provide have really helped me love this new way of life. I have already lost 10 pounds and look forward to eating all this wonderful food as I shed the rest of my weight. Congratulations on your continued success. I look forward to reading your blog regularly.

  21. I am a big fan of lentils - I've never seen a recipe with green olives before. I'm an even bigger fan of green olives so I'll have to try this combination.

  22. Bee, I've got to try making mujadara myself. I absolutely love it! Best tasting thing in the world.

    Helene, me too!

    Peter, thanks. Wish we were having outdoor meals around here. Decks need to get done first!

    Michelle, thanks so much. Comments like that really make my day.

  23. I made this salad yesterday to have for lunches. It is very very good! I haven't been a fan of green olives before, but this is a terrific combination. I overcooked the lentils a bit since mine are quite fresh, and it is still delish! It really soaks up the tasty dressing. My alterations were adding 1 roasted red pepper and using some salt and dried herbs since I don't have Spike seasoning at hand. Great way to use lots of fresh Greek oregano. Thanks again for the recipe!

  24. Maggie, so glad you liked it! Thanks for letting me know.

  25. How do you make use of the drained liquid after cooking the lentils?

  26. Tigerfish, if I was on the ball I would save the lentil cooking liquid and freeze to use later in making vegetable stock, but I threw it away this time.

  27. Another super tasty and healthy salad! I can never get enough of them.

  28. Love Lentils this recipe sounds great, never used Greek Oregano, must look out for it and give it a try.
    Thank You


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