Lentil, Walnut + Fresh Herb Salad

1 pound (2 to 2 1/4 cups) dry umbrian or green french lentils
4 c chicken broth (or water)
1/2 c dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
3 bell peppers (ideally a mix of orange, yellow, and red)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 c olive oil, divided
1 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 c flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 c mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 ounces parmesan cheese, divided (optional)
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (sold at willy st. coop + woodman’s)
2 tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste

Rinse the lentils well and place them in a saucepan. Add the chicken broth or water.  Bring to a boil then lower the heat and cover the pot, and cook the lentils for about 25 to 30 minutes. Test them after 20 minutes; cooking time will vary according to freshness and age of the lentils. You should turn off the heat when the lentils are tender, but not yet mushy. I like this as warm dish, although if you’d like a cold lentil salad, when lentils are done cooking, spread them out on a baking sheet to cool. 

Meanwhile, finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes and place them in a heatsafe container. Pour about 1/2 cup of boiling water over the tomatoes and set them aside to steep.
Dice the onion, and clean out the bell peppers and dice them as well. Finely mince the garlic. Heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the onion is just beginning to be translucent, but the peppers have not yet lost their snap or color.
Turn off the heat and mix the onion mixture with the lentils in a large bowl. Drain the tomatoes (reserve about 1/4 cup of the steeping liquid) and stir them in, as well as the toasted walnuts, chopped parsley and mint, and the lemon zest. Grate about 1 ounce of the Parmesan cheese and stir this in as well.

In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, the 1/4 cup of steeping liquid from the sun-dried tomatoes, the lemon juice, and the pomegranate molasses. Toss this dressing with the lentils. Taste for seasoning, and stir in salt and pepper.

Spread the lentils on a serving plate or in a bowl, and use a vegetable peeler to shave the remaining Parmesan into flakes. Sprinkle these over top and serve.

Serves 6-8.

Inspiration from www.thekitchn.com

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