Do you have a birthday buddy?
I do; actually, I have a few. (Give me a shout out if your birthday is also September 30th!)
But I was an adult when I first met I someone with the same birthday as mine. (Which is pretty sad, right? That would have been so much fun as a kid!)
Anyway, she and I worked together at the last job I had before I went blogging full-time. I’m not sure if it’s because we share a birthday or not, but we are definitely kindred souls.
For starters, we both adore good food, and our lunch breaks were frequently spent enjoying it.
One day we were out to lunch and having the hardest time deciding what to order. A lentil salad caught both of our attention, and while she decided on a black bean and vegetable burrito, I ended up ordering the salad. One bite and I knew I had to recreate it at home.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably know that I’m a fan of bean and lentil salads. (Like my Greek-Flavored Butter Bean Salad, Lemony Chickpea + Herb Wheat Berry Salad, Pardina Lentil, Green Apple + Kale Salad, and Strawberry Black Bean Salad, to name just a few.) This salad is a lovely addition to my collection of favorites.
Lentils and balsamic vinaigrette are a perfect pairing, and although that herbed goat cheese looks impressive, it couldn’t be easier to make. Why not enjoy a restaurant-quality meal from the comfort of your own home? Better yet, invite a few of your besties over to enjoy it with you.
- 2/3 cup (140 g) dried brown lentils (or 1 (15 oz/425 g) can no-salt-added brown lentils, rinsed and drained)
- 4 cups (1 liter) water
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 6 oz/170 g (about 1 cup) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 oz/115 g (about 4 cups) baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon good-quality balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1 (4 oz/115 g) log goat cheese, sliced into 8 slices
- Sort through the dried lentils to remove any small stones or pieces of dirt, and then rinse with cold water in a colander. Bring the rinsed lentils and the water up to a boil in a lidded medium saucepan. Cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally; strain. (Skip this step if you're using canned lentils.)
- Meanwhile, whisk together all ingredients for the Balsamic Vinaigrette; set aside.
- For the Herbed Goat Cheese, combine the parsley and chives in a small dish. Roll each slice of goat cheese in the herbs; set aside.
- Mix together the cooked or canned lentils, onion, tomato, parsley, salt, and Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- To serve, arrange the spinach on 4 plates. Mound the lentil salad on top of the spinach, and top each with 2 slices of goat cheese.