Mediterranean Lentil and Green Olive Salad

I put on a Mozart CD to make this Lentil and Green Olive Salad.  I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while now.  It’s from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook  by Nancy Harmon Jenkins.  It is a simple dish but I think what can make it delicious is the quality of the ingredients.  I kept thinking about an old friend as I considered making  this recipe.  He is a vegetarian.  I remember once he was over and enjoying my lasagna rolls.  I proceeded to tell him what was in them and he giggled.  He told me this joke about a man who was invited to the White House for dinner.  He was served a hamburger.  The man said it was the best hamburger he had ever had.  He asked to go speak to the chef to let him know.  The guest asked what the secret was and the chef answered that they started with USDA Prime Top Sirloin and ground that up.  Then, my friend would smile.  I had heard him tell this joke before and I never got it.  I would smile back at my friend, politely, but I never got it!  I always gave lots of credit to the cook who figures out what ingredients work well together and figures out how to prepare them and get everything on the table looking beautiful.

This man’s joke has been on my mind a lot because I finally got it.  Of course!  The White House was feeding everyone a ground up excellent quality of steak.  A recipe will taste its best only when the best quality ingredients are used.  There are times that ingredients won’t make a big difference but since this recipe is simple, it is essential that you buy the best.  So, I used everything fresh and organic.  I used my own lemons and arugula.  The olives were a Greek Blend which included Kalamata, so, I added them along with the green olives.  They weren’t pitted.  It took a little more work to slice the meat off the pit but it was worth it because they are my favorite.  I, also, used a lovely robust olive oil.  This dish is where you want to use your best EVOO.  It will make the salad.



1/2 lb. brown or green Lentils

1 small Onion, peeled

1 Garlic Clove, peeled

1 Bay Leaf

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup pitted Green Olives, coarsely chopped

1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into long thin strips (I left them too long.  Next time I will cut in half.)

1/3 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

3 Tbl. fresh Lemon Juice

Bitter Greens like Arugula, Chicory, Frisée, Radicchio…

Zest of 1/2 lemon, cut into fine julienne strips

1 Tbl. minced Flat-Leaf Parsley


Pick Lentils over carefully, looking for stones or unusual beans.  Rinse under running water.  Place in a saucepan with the Onion, Garlic, Bay Leaf, Salt, Pepper, with 3 cups cold Water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, lower heat, and simmer 30 minutes until Lentils are tender. Check because the time can vary.  Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients.


When the Lentils are done, drain them, discard all the vegetables and mix while still warm with the Olives, Red Peppers, Olive Oil, and Lemon Juice.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

IMG_3864 Serve on a pile of bitter greens.  I mixed some Arugula from the garden with a bit of romaine lettuce I had in the frig.  Garnish with the strips of Lemon and Parsley.


Makes 6 servings.  Each consisting of 274 Calories, 11 grams of Protein, 25 grams of Carbs, 16 grams Fat.

If you are watching your fat intake, by all means use less olive oil.  I have to say that I found the 1/3 cup to be perfect.

Buen Gusto!

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