Warm Greek Lentil Salad with Feta and Dill

This came from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, which I’ve been using a lot lately.  I like that it’s seasonally arranged – keeps you from looking wistfully at that corn-and-basil salad (summer) when you should really be reading about asparagus (spring), or pomegranates (fall), or citrus (winter).

The proportions in this are nice, and the pre-cooking of the carrots gets them to just the right texture – not jarringly crunchy, as they would be if added to this batch of ingredients raw.

1 1/4 c. dried green lentils, picked over to remove and stones and then rinsed (these are the "French green lentils" or "Lentilles de Puy" that I’m so fond of.  They’re smaller and more toothsome than the garden-variety brown lentils, though those can be nice too.)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
3 bay leaves (this sounded way overboard based on my super-potent Morton & Bassett bay leaves – I used half of one)
3 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 medium celery stalk, finely diced (about 1/3 c.)
3 medium radishes, finely diced (about 1/3 c.)
2 T. minced fresh dill
freshly ground black pepper
8 c. packed mesclun or other tender salad greens
5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 c.)

1. Bring the lentils, garlic, bay leaves, and 2 quarts water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer briskly for 15 minutes.  Stir in 1 tsp. salt and the carrots and continue cooking until the lentils and carrots are tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes.  Drain and discard the garlic and bay leaves.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, lemon juice, and salt to taste together in a large bowl.

3. Add the drained lentils and carrots, celery, radishes, and dill to the bowl with the dressing.  Toss to combine and then adjust the seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Let the lentil salad cool for about 10 minutes.

4. Divide the mesclun among four large plates.  Spoon the lentil salad over the mesclun, sprinkle with the feta, and serve.

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