I do a lot of thinking while I’m running. I wouldn’t call it my best thinking. Most of my thoughts are taken up by “my legs are tired” and “what mile was the turnaround point” and “am I going fast enough.” But I do have a lot of time for thinking. I went for a run on New Year’s Day – a particularly painful one after the previous night’s festivities. In between all the internal complaints I had, I thought about what was in the fridge. Specifically, the bag of baby carrots in the crisper drawer.
After a party baby carrots almost invariably end up in the fridge, next to the too-hoppy beer that I probably won’t drink. I thought about that bag a carrots a lot during my run, wondering what I could possibly do with them. Throwing them out was not an option – I’m just too stubborn to admit defeat like that. I’m not really a fan of baby carrots at the best of times – they might be +1 for convenience but compared to a real carrot they’re about -5 for taste. Sometimes I consider spending the extra few minutes peeling and slicing carrots into sticks for dipping, but let’s face it, that isn’t going to happen. Which means every once in a while I find myself staring down a bag of baby carrots and wondering what to do with them.
A quick survey of the fridge after my run turned up a container of cooked lentils that I’d made a few days earlier, a nice complement to carrots and, bonus, something that also needed using up. I grated the carrots, tossed them with the lentils, some feta, and salad dressing, and I honestly expected the end result to be somewhat forgettable. But piled on a sandwich that day it seemed like it might be worth sharing. Then when it was tossed with some greens a few days later, it definitely seemed worth sharing, because there aren’t a lot of salads that you can dress and stick in the fridge for several days and still enjoy eating. As much as I’d rather avoid the January carrot love fest that’s going on right now, well, maybe you have some baby carrots languishing in the crisper. And if you don’t now, you probably will and this recipe will be waiting for you.
- Lentil and Carrot Salad
- Makes a scant quart
- 1 cup uncooked French green lentils
- 1 quart water
- 1 tsp kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbs mustard
- 1 tbs honey
- 1 tsp dried dill (optional)
- ¼ – ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese (use however much you want)
- BOIL the water in a medium sauce pan and when it's boiling add the lentils. Cook them for about 25 minutes, until tender and no longer crunchy inside. Alternatively, you can cook lentils in a rice cooker, using 2 parts water and 1 part lentils, cooking them on the white rice setting. When they're done drain them and season them with 1 teaspoon of salt.
- COMBINE cooked lentils, shredded carrots, lemon juice, mustard, honey, dill, and feta in a large bowl and stir well. Taste and add salt if needed (I need about 1 teaspoon to season the salad).
The salad keeps, dressed, for about a week in the fridge and is just as good on it's own, on greens, or on a sandwich.