Meatless Mondays: Baby Kale and Lentil Salad

Young greens become perfectly tender after being tossed with the warm ingredients in this dish.

Baby Kale and Lentil Salad

(Photo: Ian Knauer)

Ian Knauer is a regular contributor to TakePart. He worked for ‘Gourmet’ and is the author of the IACP Award–nominated cookbook ‘The Farm.’

There are several farms close to where I live, including one less than a mile up the road called Roots to River Farm. This weekend they are letting me take over their greenhouse (the only heated out building on the property) to throw a true farm-to-table dinner. I’ll be cooking with produce from the farm, and the main event will be venison stew made from a deer that was rampaging its way through the farm’s corn until earlier this week.  Everything at the dinner will be local including the tables, which I made from local poplar.

I started setting up in the green house yesterday. Half of the space is already planted with winter crops like mitzuna, arugula, and, of course, kale.

The kale they planted last spring is big and leafy and waiting for a frost to tenderize it enough to eat, but the baby kale in the green house is just soft enough to eat when tossed with some warm lentils that soften the leaves just enough. This salad is hearty enough to fill in for a main on a cool fall night.

Baby Kale and Lentil Salad

Serves 4

1/2 lb lentils

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 red onion, sliced

6 oz baby kale

2 oz crumbled fresh goat cheese

Rinse the lentils then cover with water by 2 inches. Boil the lentils until they are tender, but still whole, about 20 minutes. Drain them and cool to warm.

While the lentils cook, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a serving bowl. Stir in the onion and let sit 10 minutes.

Stir in the lentils while they are still warm, then stir in the kale and goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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