One of my clients loves crisp salads with runny eggs, so I started making this recipe with great success. This Parisian-inspired dish is a bounty of fresh flavors and mixed textures that combine to make a healthy, satisfying meal. Leafy greens help revitalize energy levels, while fresh lemon supports liver function and clears congestion, which often accumulates during the wet spring season.
Enjoy this salad as-is, or with an elegant add-on, such as gently fried eggs or chunks of creamy avocado (see Variations). Then close your eyes and let yourself be transported to a bistro along the Seine. Bon Appetit!
French Lentil Salad
1 cup dried French green lentils
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons minced shallot
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped carrot
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 4 lemon wedges for serving
4 cups baby lettuce mix
1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
½ teaspoon pepper plus more to taste
- Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until lentils are just tender. Drain well in a fine mesh strainer.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet. Add shallot, celery, carrots, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes, then place into a large bowl. Add drained lentils and basil. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Pour over the lentil mixture, and toss well to incorporate. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Divide lettuce onto 4 plates. Drizzle with olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Top each serving with a quarter of the lentil mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.
- Lentil Salad with Fried Eggs. Lightly fry 4 eggs. Place on top of lentil mixture and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. The intention is for the soft yolk to run over the lentils.
- Lentil Salad with Avocado. Thinly slice 1 to 2 avocados. After plating the lettuce, decoratively top with avocado slices, then add the lentils. Or, chop avocado into small chunks and toss with the lentil mixture to add a creamy texture.
- Warm Lentils over Frisee. Replace the baby lettuce mix with 1 head frisee. Wash, drain, and separate leaves. Arrange a few leaves on 4 plates, and season with oil and salt. Top with lentils while still warm.
- Get the lentils on the stove, then chop and sauté your veggies and whisk the dressing. This will eliminate or reduce prep time, as the work is being done while the lentils cook.
- The lentils can quickly turn from tender to mushy, so be attentive while cooking. Once the lentils come to a simmer, set a timer for 20 minutes and check right away. When ready, drain immediately. The structure of the lentils is key to creating a perfect bistro salad.
Approaching change with mindfulness helps the body to adjust with ease. As we move from winter to spring, I like to slowly transition my meals accordingly. Early spring is the perfect time to lighten up with a fresh salad featuring a cooked element—a combination that honors this seasonal shift.
If you have any leftover lemons, save them for your water. A warm mug of lemon water in the morning helps to cleanse, alkalize, and hydrate your system, energizing you for the day ahead. Or, simply double the dressing recipe (Step 3) and have extra on hand for another delicious salad.