I always savor the last week of the year. To me it’s the ideal cozy and reflective time, where you can stay home, read, write, take baths and catch up with yourself. This is the first year in a long time that I have actually done any of those things, as there is usually travel, guests or work projects to keep me busy. This year I have experienced a delightful staycation and it feels like the perfect ending to a very busy year.
All around the world there are traditions that revolve around special (or even ordinary) ingredients to include in a New Year’s day meal to bring luck and prosperity. For example, lentils and beans are eaten because they resemble coins and swell in water, and greens symbolize growth and prosperity.
I wanted to create something tasty and lucky to eat and to share for the New Year. The lentils in this salad are luscious, which has a lot to do with the melted, whole garlic cloves, lots of lemon and Frankie’s olive oil combined with the earthy lentil flavor. I could have sat down with just a bowl of them and been very happy.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I am!
Wishing you a magical new year full of happiness and prosperity!
Lemony French lentils with herb roasted vegetables, browned shallots and baby spinach
For the lentils
1 cups French lentils, rinsed
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2 inch piece kombu
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons of your best extra virgin olive oil
For the vegetables
5 medium parsnips, scrubbed and cut in ¼’s
2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut in ¼’s (I also cut them in half lengthways)
3 large springs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
3 large sprigs fresh oregano, leaves removed and chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 shallots, peeled and sliced
Baby spinach leaves
Place the lentils, bay leaves, 3 cloves of garlic and kombu in a medium sized pot and cover with an inch and a half of filtered water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 30-35 minutes or until the lentils are soft but not falling apart. Remove from heat and add a pinch of salt, stir and let lentils sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place parsnips, carrots, herbs, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper on a parchment lined baking sheet and toss to combine.
Roast for 30 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown and tender inside.
Remove from oven and set aside.
Warm a skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and shallots and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, allowing shoots to brown. Lower heat, add a pinch of salt and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
Remove the bay leaves and kombu from the lentils and drain well. (The lentil cooking liquid is great in soups and broths). Place the lentils in a medium sized-mixing bowl; add the lemon zest and juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir, especially if they are still very warm, then set aside.
Place a handful of spinach leaves on 4 plates then top with a large spoon of lentils. Toss the roasted carrots and parsnips and top each plate with about a quarter of the vegetables, making sure to give everyone some crispy herbs. Sprinkle shallots, lemon zest and parsley over each plate and serve.
Serves 4 people as a light meal or side dish.
Click here for a printable recipe