Lentil salad with grapes and chardonnay dressing

Photographer: Emma
6 as a side with lean meat or fish

I remember a few years ago when I was working as a chef, there was a dry spell in the availability of puy lentils – I can’t remember what caused it but it seemed to cause quite a stir amongst our restaurant community.   I admit that I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about, but recently I have been using lentils a lot, particularly the puy variety. You see, I have been eating a lot less meat (this is big for me, when I was a kid I got steak for special occasions, not sweets) and the puy lentil is an actual credible alternative to “real” protein.

If you really want to tip yourself over the protein edge, I suggest you serve it with steamed salmon or a robust white fish such as harpuku (groper).


2 c lentils
1 carrot, quartered
1 onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 c almonds
2 c seedless grapes, halved
200g feta, cubed (1cmx1cm)

1 tbsp + 1 c olive oil
1 red onion, diced finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
2 lemons, juiced and zested
¼ c chardonnay (or a splash of white wine vinegar)
¼ c chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Wash the lentils under cold water and add them to a large sauce pan with the carrot, onion, garlic and bay leaf. Add enough cold water to cover.
2. Bring to the boil, then simmer uncovered for 30 mins.
3. Drain, cool and remove the vegetables from the lentils.
4. For the dressing, sauté the onion and garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil. Cool.
5. Transfer the onion and garlic to a bowl and add 1 c oil, the lemon juice and zest, chardonnay (or vinegar), parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Lightly toast the almonds in the oven or in a frying pan.
7. Combine the lentils, almonds, grapes, feta and dressing to taste (you don’t have to add all the dressing, just pour it into a jar and refrigerate what you don’t use, or serve it on the side).