Friday, July 16, 2010

Easy Lentil Salad With Tarragon-Mustard Dressing

I love these little lentils. Don't the swirls of color remind you of a Van Gogh painting?

And, I love this lentil salad, with a tangy tarragon-mustard dressing. It makes a great addition to a summer salad, and most of the ingredients are probably already in your refrigerator or pantry.

Dressing adapted from this potato salad recipe.

1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed (I used French lentils)
3 cups water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 scant tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, washed and minced
3 teaspoons dried tarragon, crushed (or 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, washed and minced)
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Place the lentils and water in a small saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are cooked but still firm (this will probably be between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on the type of lentils you are using).

While the lentils are cooking, whisk the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Drain the cooked lentils and place them in a medium-sized bowl.

Pour the dressing over the warm lentils and toss to coat.

Serve warm or chilled.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pasta With Chickpeas, Rosemary, and Garlic

Yes, it is a lot of garlic. And rosemary. And red pepper flakes. But soooo darn addictive.

The first time I made this, I used my blender to puree the chickpeas. The second time, I just went at them with a potato masher. As might be expected, the sauce made with the blender was smoother -- but I kind of like the chunky mashed chickpea texture, too.

16 ounces campanelle or other small pasta, prepared per package instructions
5 cups drained cooked or canned chickpeas (rinse if using canned)
3 cups water, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 ounce rosemary sprigs, washed, with the leaves removed and minced
1 teaspoon salt (I used 2 teaspoons with unsalted cooked chickpeas)

Place the chickpeas and 1 cup water in a blender and puree until smooth (or, alternatively, place the chickpeas and 1 cup water in a large bowl and mash until the chickpeas are smooth or you are tired).

Heat the olive oil and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the garlic and minced rosemary and cook, stirring frequently, for about a minute, or until the garlic begins to brown.

Stir in the salt.

Carefully add the pureed/mashed chickpeas to the skillet, and stir to combine with the seasoned oil.

Add the remaining two cups of water to the skillet and stir until the chickpea mixture is smooth.

Allow the chickpea mixture to come to a boil, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the cooked pasta and serve.