springtime lentil & roasted potato salad

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged…”

So begins Pride and Prejudice, and while I mean no disrespect to my lady Jane, I feel that her immortal first line–touting, as it does, an early-19th century view of women and marriage–is due for an upgrade. In that spirit, here are some variations that feel a little more relevant to my life right now:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that the more final papers and exams one has, the more one will procrastinate by seeking alternative activities (for example, blogging).”

Or:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that those swindlers over at Herff Jones can charge just about any price they please for one afternoon’s rental of a cap and gown because they darn well know we graduates will pay it, if only for that single, triumphant photo in front of the Sample Gates.”

Or, truest of all:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that the closer one gets to saying goodbye to a town, the sweeter and dearer each place and face grows.”

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As excited as I am for what comes next post-graduation, I’m making an effort to soak up these last few weeks in Indiana (which, in the midst of end-of-the-semester busyness, is not always easy to do). Setting aside part of a morning last weekend to prepare this lentil and roasted potato salad was just right for slowing down and paying attention: to the pretty produce bought at my beloved Bloomington Farmer’s Market, to the comforting familiarity of my hygge-filled apartment. After all, a morning spent cooking has a way of setting things right — and if that’s not a truth universally acknowledged, I don’t know what is.

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springtime lentil & roasted potato salad
Adapted from The First Mess

dressing
juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt & pepper

salad
2 pounds red potatoes, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon green herbs (e.g. thyme, rosemary, oregano)
salt & pepper
1 cup brown lentils
3-4 radishes (sliced) with tops (roughly chopped)
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
16-18 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup fresh dill

Serves 4-6

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together, and set aside. Done.

Preheat oven to 400 and prep those taters. Toss diced potatoes with a generous tablespoon of olive oil, green herbs, salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring a couple times to ensure even roasting.

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Now would be the perfect time to start the lentils. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil, then add lentils. Bring back to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 20 or so minutes, or until lentils are just tender (a little crunch is ideal). Drain and place in a large mixing bowl, then toss the warm lentils with about half of your dressing. Set aside to cool.

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Meanwhile, chop, slice and dice your remaining ingredients. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus spears and cut into bite-sized pieces. Finely dice the red onion, mince the garlic, slice the radishes into thin half coins, and roughly chop the radish greens.

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Once the potatoes have roasted for 40 minutes, remove from the oven and push to one side of the baking sheet. Place asparagus pieces on the other side and toss with a scant tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Return to the oven and roast for another 10 minutes, until asparagus is bright green and tender.

While the asparagus is finishing up, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add red onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two more. Finally, add radish greens and saute until just wilted, which shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes. Remove from heat.

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At long last, let’s bring it all together. Add the roasted potatoes and asparagus, sauteed radish greens, and sliced radishes to the lentils and stir to combine. Drizzle with remaining dressing and fresh dill, and stir once again.

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Final step: give yourself a round of applause because you’ve just created a healthy, earthy, herb-y ode to springtime. This salad has a complexity of texture and flavor that I found oh so satisfying, and the protein-rich lentils make it hearty without sacrificing that walk-in-the-garden-after-an-April-rainstorm freshness.

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And as an added bonus: it stays for days. I brought a Tupperware of it to school every day this week and never once got tired of finding it in my lunch bag.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. granna2c says:

    Thanks for another mouth watering recipe made more so by your words. Although I’m sure you don’t need it, I’ll say it anyway, “Good luck on your finals!” 😃 Congratulations on this milestone you are completing. 🎓 I’m looking forward to seeing you this summer!

  2. Jan Fields says:

    Fun new word: Hygge. Almost sounds Dutch.

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