Two things you should know about me and lentils. First, after reading the original version of Cinderella in middle school in which the eponymous heroine's evil stepmother falsely asserts if Cinderella is able sift lentils out of the ashes she can go to the ball, I for years associated lentils with dirt and broken promises. Second, this association shifted dramatically, and most importantly, positively when I volunteered one summer in Himachal Pradesh in northern India. The cook at our lodgings packed us tiffins of dal, okra, rice, and chapati every day for lunch, and in the cooler mountain temperatures, the warm spiced lentils were the perfect comfort food. (And welcome distraction from the fact that I was exposed daily to TB patients not wearing masks but that's another story.)
A leftover bag of green lentils from holiday entertaining presented the perfect opportunity to make salata addis, a Syrian lentil salad speckled with onions, parsley, and tomatoes. The recipe below is adapted from Helen Corey's Healthy Syrian and Lebanese Cooking, my bible until I find a better one (irony noted) for this experiment.
1/2 cups lentils
3 1/2 cups water
1 bay leave
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 small onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
1 medium tomato (diced)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Rinse and drain lentils. Place in saucepan and add in water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and cook partly covered for approximately 30 minutes.
2. Drain lentils and discard bay leaf.
3. Combine lentils with garlic, onion, parsley, and tomato in a large bowl.
4. Toss with lemon juice and olive oil. Salt and pepper to your pleasing.
5. Serve warm or chilled.