A Recipe from Rebecca: Vicki Behm’s Lentil Salad

August 4, 2022 by General Administrator

Vicki Behm is an outstanding cook, and this is a very good salad. As the name implies, it keeps well, in addition to being tasty. Consider packing some in a box to take to work for lunch. I think you could use other types of green olive if you don’t have any Castelvetrano olives to hand.

Make-Ahead Lentil Salad, 4 servings

Photo from https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/make-ahead-lentil-salad


1 large bunch kale
12 ounces (measured in a measuring jug) of puy lentils
3 spring onions
4 garlic cloves
1 lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
140g feta
150g Castelvetrano olives, crushed with the side of a knife, and pits removed


Strip the kale leaves off the stems; discard stems or save for later. Stack the leaves on top of each other, then roll into fat cigars. Slice crosswise into ½ cm strips to form long, thin ribbons. Unfurl the ribbons. If any are really, long cut these into shorter ribbons that will be easier to get into your mouth. Transfer the ribbons to a large bowl, season with salt, and then use your hands to massage the kale: scrunch the kale up in your hands for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is silkier, softer, and darker in colour. This makes it more tender and nicer to eat raw. Place the kale ribbons in a large serving bowl.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the lentils, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender but still al dente, about 20–25 minutes. Try not to overcook them or they’ll be mushy.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the spiced oil. Trim the spring onions and separate white and green parts. Thinly slice the white parts and transfer to a small skillet. (Keep the green parts—they will be used later in the recipe.) Peel the garlic and crush it with a knife. Add those to same skillet. Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, remove three 8cm strips of lemon peel (avoiding white pith); reserve the rest of the lemon for your salad dressing. Add peels to skillet as well. Now pour the olive oil into skillet and stir so that all of the elements are coated in oil.

Heat the skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to brown and the lemon peel starts to curl, about 3 minutes. Add the almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until almonds are browned, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cumin seeds and red pepper flakes—the residual heat from the oil will warm those spices and bring out their flavours.

Strain the oil mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, shaking to help the oil drain. Don’t throw away the stuff in the sieve! The oil will form the base of your salad dressing and the stuff in the sieve will add crunch to the salad. Spread the contents of the sieve on a paper towel-lined plate, season with salt, and let cool. The nuts will get crunchier as they sit.

Crumble the feta into the bowl with the kale. Tear the olives into large pieces and add them to the bowl as well. Thinly slice the reserved spring onion greens and add most of them to the bowl, reserving just a few for a garnish. Juice the lemon and add it, along with ½ teaspoon salt, to the serving bowl.

Once the lentils are cooked, drain them well, shaking to get rid of excess moisture, and add to bowl; season with salt. Add the infused oil and half of almond-spice mix, and toss to combine. Garnish with the remaining nuts and spices, and spring onion greens, and serve.

Recipe adapted from Bon Apétit, 2020

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