Lentils on a hot day - need inspiration

I'm just learning to love lentils. I cook up some dry lentils every weekend, and add them to everything from pasta sauce to bread. I love it.

But it's too hot to cook this week, and I have a big bowl of lonely cooked lentils in my fridge.

What can I do with the lentils that doesn't involve warmth, or very little? Do people even eat lentils cold? I don't even know what kind of keywords to start searching with. I don't want the lentils to go bad but no room in the freezer.

Surely this is an opportunity to learn a new way to enjoy lentils? Please inspire me.



Liza's K. July 31, 2014
I feel like with salad dressing simple is best. I often take a small glass jar and pour in some oil, balsamic vinegar, a squirt of Dijon mustard, and a couple shakes of dried herbs (whatever you like). Close the jar, shake, done! Perfect every time.
ChefJune July 31, 2014
Lentils are great as a salad. I cook them up with onions, garlic and carrots chopped fine. while they are still warm, I dress them with a lemony, mustardy vinaigrette with fresh herbs from my garden tossed in -- and a nice big handful of wild arugula or watercress.
ChefJune July 31, 2014
Oh, forgot to mention we eat this salad room temp or cold. Chunks of leftover chicken or steak are great in it, too.
amysarah July 31, 2014
Just to add a thought - lentils and salmon are a classic combination. A lentil salad (I second David Lebovitz's recipe - delicious) would be great with salmon cooked on the grill, or even cold poached for a very hot day.
C.Nielsen July 31, 2014
Pickle them! Just do a basic fridge pickle. Add heat or sweet to your liking, then use it on top of salads, or mixed into tuna/chicken/egg salad. I also like them spooned on top of a simple plate of sliced avocado and tomato, or dolloped on top of some creme fraiche that's been spread on a piece of toast. So tasty.
Stephanie G. July 31, 2014
The sherry vinaigrette I use is Deborah Madison's. It's a clove of garlic pounded with salt. Add 1 1/2 tbs sherry vinegar, 1tsp Dijon mustard, & 6 tbs olive oil. Hope you enjoy! Sherry vinegar is wonderful!
Sam1148 July 30, 2014
Use them instead of bulgar wheat in a Tabbouleh salad. Chopped parsley and mint, lentils, chopped tomato. (cube some cucumber there to pare with pegreen's Pimms cup)..
Dress the salad with lemon, juice, garlic and olive oil. (discard garlic after it flavors the dressing--no chunks).
Add feta cheese before serving.

and for 'to hot to cook'...grill up some flat bread...and put on hummus and grilled tomatoes. Served with the lentils and hummus, the salad could be on the flat bread.
Pegeen August 2, 2014
Excellent. Thank you so much. Guests loved it.
cookinginvictoria July 30, 2014
Great thread . . . I love Gena's lentil, apricot jam and kale salad that Lindsay-Jean cites. Also, Pegeen's suggestion of the lentil and chickpea salad with feta and tahini by April Bloomfield via the Smitten Kitchen is wonderful.

One more thought. https://food52.com/recipes/27751-lentils-folded-into-yogurt-spinach-and-basil I have made this salad with already cooked lentils. It is delicious served at room temperature. Ingredients can be slightly mixed and matched (for example, I have used arugula in place of spinach and mint in place of basil), but it is the yogurt/olive oil dressing that, in my opinion, really makes this dish sing.
trampledbygeese July 30, 2014
I think it was hunger, not heat that had addled my brain.

Made my first attempt at vinaigrette - it was...um...different. I obviously need more practice. Apples, lentils, raisins... Pretty tasty, or it will be once I get the dressing down pat.

Keep the recipe ideas coming.
Pegeen July 30, 2014
Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta & Tahini
(from Smitten Kitchen but based on April Bloomfield's recipe, from the cookbook "A Girl and Her Pig")
Pegeen July 30, 2014
Hot to Make a Vinaigrette Without a Recipe (Food52 article)

p.s. love your username :-)
Pegeen July 30, 2014
I hear you about it being too hot to cook. My diet today has been 3 Edy’s lime popsicles. I may add a Pimm’s Cup cocktail later to be sure I’ve gotten some vegetables today.

Lentil salads are an all-time favorite. Some of these specify DePuy French lentils, but I wouldn’t be concerned if yours are not French lentils.

French lentil salad (cold) with goat cheese and walnuts by David Lebovitz
Since your lentils are already cooked, to avoid turning on the stove, you could just microwave the carrot, onion and celery until just tender. Throw the bay leaf and thyme in with them if you like. When vegetables are cool, strain and toss with lentils to combine, add vinaigrette and toss to combine.

Warm Lentil Salad with Balsamic Roast Squash by Martha Shulman (NY Times)
Just serve at room temp and if you can stand it, grill some zucchini or yellow squash outside on the grill, as a substitute for the autumn squash

Mediterranean Lentil Salad by Mollie Katzen
trampledbygeese July 30, 2014
This is how hot it is: When reading the bit about French Lentils, I was wondering how to tell what language my lentils are. Perhaps if I put the radio to the Frankiphone channel and if they responded... Then I realized that was a silly idea... because I wouldn't be able to understand what the lentils were saying if they spoke french. (going to go consume another litre of water and a handful of salt until I become sane again). The lentils I have right now are locally grown and say 'red lentils' on the bag. They cooked up much faster but less mushy than brown ones. Also, do you think pumpkin qualifies as autumn squash? They are just coming ripe now too - everything's early this year except tomatoes.
trampledbygeese July 30, 2014
Great ideas. Keep them coming. I have lots of lentils and anything I don't try this week, I can next week.
Lindsay-Jean H. July 30, 2014
One more vote for salad, I love this one: https://food52.com/recipes/17866-raw-kale-salad-with-lentils-and-sweet-apricot-vinaigrette
trampledbygeese July 30, 2014
mmm, that looks good. Wrong season for kale right now, but might be able to manage some baby beet greens. Any suggestions on a substitute for apricot preserve?
Lindsay-Jean H. July 30, 2014
One of the only good things about an extremely cool summer in my neck of the woods is a surprising amount of kale at the market, but I digress -- I agree that it would be just as nice with other sturdy greens. Whenever I'm out of apricot preserves (I buy it solely to have on hand for this salad), I just go with a basic vinaigrette: https://food52.com/blog/10345-how-to-make-a-vinaigrette-without-a-recipe
Stephanie G. July 30, 2014
I love lentil salads. You could dress your lentils wwith a sherry vinaigrette and add some chopped apples and sauteed shallots. Top with some yummy cheese.
trampledbygeese July 30, 2014
Wow, salad?!? Never imagined lentils in salad before, level on AS THE salad. That sounds amazing! Apples are just coming ripe now too. Kind of a noob question I know, but any recommendations on how one makes a vinaigrette? I'm off to search for info, but if you have suggestions on how to make one that goes extra yummy with lentils, please let me know.
ljhutchins July 30, 2014
I eat this lentil & potato salad at least once a week. They are great at room temperature.
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