Warm Spinach Salad with Lentils and Feta

When I used to work at the Westside Bakery Cafe in Berkeley, CA, one of my favorite lunch items was a warm spinach salad with lentils and feta.

You’ll need: 1 cup of lentils, an onion or two, a carrot, a can of tomatoes, some garlic, a bunch of spinach, feta cheese, bay leaf, thyme, a nice vinegar and olive oil.

Chop a half a carrot and a half an onion and briefly saute in olive oil. Add a bay leaf and the seasonings of your choice. I actually used Herb de Provence this time. Zatar would be another cool choice. To this add 1 cup of lentils and two cups of chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the lentils are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid. Remove from the heat.

Chop an onion and as much garlic as you like. Briefly saute in olive oil, add oregano, thyme, or other herbs of your choice. I’m the sort of person who can’t make a tomato sauce without adding crushed red chiles. You may not be. Then add the tomatoes from a can of Roma tomatoes. Cook until sauce-like, and adjust seasonings.

We really like this mildly flavored and buttery olive oil from Bariani.

Pick a tasty wine. This was an Italian wine we got when we belonged to the Bonny Doon “Dewn” wine club. Its exact name escapes me at the moment.

Wash the spinach, dry, and place in a big bowl. Crumble the feta cheese into the bowl over the spinach. If you have leftover grilled or roasted chicken, like us, this is another nice addition.

Check the seasonings of your tomato sauce and stir in a bit of decent vinegar. I used the Balsamic style vinegar from Bariani. Add the warm lentils to the tomatoes and stir together. Pour the tomato and lentil mixture over your spinach and feta, and toss.

Warm bread or Pita bread is a good accompaniment. This is the sourdough whole wheat bread from the Arizmendi Bakery. I really like it. They use a great sourdough starter they got from their sister bakery, the Cheese Board in Berkeley. The bread has a wonderful smell like new mown hay.

OK, it’s not the prettiest meal in the world, but it is very tasty and quick to prepare.

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