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I came up with this recipe because I like food with a Middle Eastern twist and I wanted to find another way of using lentils besides soup!
4 main dish servings, or 8 side dishes
Whisk first 6 ingredients together to make the dressing for the salad.
Pick over and wash lentils in several changes of water until water remains clear. Soak lentils in about 2 cups water for 1 - 2 hours, or overnight. (Overnight soaking will reduce cooking time.)
Heat olive oil in a 2 quart saucepan. Sauté the garlic in the oil until just translucent. Add the coriander seed and heat to release the flavor. Add the lentils and the soaking water and bring just to a boil. Add the bay leaf, cayenne pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 - 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add additional water if necessary to keep the lentils from sticking. Add salt and taste for seasoning.
Drain any remaining liquid from the lentils, remove the bay leaf, and allow the lentils to come to room temperature.
In a large bowl combine the lentils and about 3/4 cup of the dressing. Add the vegetables and feta, and toss lightly. Taste for seasoning and add more dressing as desired, or place it on the table for individual use.
Salad may also be served chilled.
The dressing can be made ahead and stored up to two weeks in the refrigerator. This dressing is also good on Greek Salad. You can decrease the quantity of oil if calories are a factor and dress the salad with smaller amounts of dressing without sacrificing flavor.
Vary the amounts of spices and herbs to suit your taste. Other spices and herbs can be used in this recipe to vary the flavor, such as ground cinnamon, ground cumin, fresh or dried basil, and fresh or dried dill. Start with ¼ tsp of the ground spices or dried herbs or 1 tsp fresh and work from there, either adding them to the basic recipe or substituting for the other flavors.
This recipe was provided by Kathy Stant from Richmond.