I made this cold lentil salad from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian recently to serve for dinner on an unseasonably warm day (among many we’ve had this spring). I love a good cold, hearty salad and I’ve been on a bit of a lemon kick lately. Lemony didn’t even begin to describe this salad. Following the original recipe, it was totally over the top. It tasted a little too much like sunshine and sweettarts, so I adjusted it a bit to make it more savory and subtle. The best thing about this recipe is its simplicity. You may even have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now.

This would be best served as a summer side dish with some sandwiches or grilled corn on the cob. It would also be perfect served on warm pita with a bit of goat cheese. Let the warm weather cooking begin!

Lemony Lentil Salad

1 cup dried lentils, any variety
1 large lemon
1 large shallot, chopped (red onion would also work)
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Bay leaf
Fresh ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add lentils, bay leaf, and garlic, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook lentils until softened but not burst or mushy, about 8 minutes.

While the lentils cook, prepare the dressing by combining the juice of one lemon with the olive oil, chopped shallot, chopped green onion, a healthy shake of black pepper, and a bit of salt to taste.

Drain the excess water from the cooked lentils and toss with the dressing while still warm. Adjust seasoning to taste and allow to chill for a few hours before serving.