If you’re concerned about climate change, one of the easiest places to make a positive impact is in your very own kitchen. Lentils are low water, low carbon, high yield, they actually put nutrients back into the soil. They put nutrients in us, too, being loaded with fiber and protein. French lentil salad will fuel you without overtaxing the planet.
World leaders have had to face facts — climate change is real, devastating, and we’ve caused it. Instead of kicking climate change down the road, as they’ve done for years, they’re acting, they’re starting to do the right thing. Day Two of the COP26 climate conference ended with 80 nations pledging to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
This is a big deal, and gives me hope for positive change. Carbon gets all the buzz, but methane has 80 times more warming power. Cutting methane means reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. It also means addressing the other major producer of methane, carbon and other potent greenhouse gases— livestock production.
We each have the power to reduce global warming by switching from beef to beans. While I never imagined there’d be so many commercial plantbased meats on the market, beans came first. They’re the original plantbased protein, sustainable to grow, sustaining for us, low carbon, low water, high yield, affordable, accessible, versatile, delicious, beloved in every culture and cuisine.
In honor of COP26 and glimmerings of the world getting it together to save itself from climate change, enjoy my easy but oh-so-French lentil salad. For more luscious leguminous recipes, my e-book Beans: A Handful of Magic, is on sale for a buck.
We all have a responsibility to the planet — it’s our home, after all. A plantbased diet makes doing the right thing delicious.
Beans we love:
French Lentil Salad
- 1-1/2 cups dried lentils
- 3 cups water or vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- a few whole peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/3 c walnut or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves from 1 good sprig
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 scallions chopped fine
- 4 cups arugula or spinach leaves
- 1/3 cup walnuts toasted for garnish
- Pick over lentils for pebbles or grit. Rinse lentils and drain.
- Bring water or broth to boil in a large pot. Drop in whole garlic cloves, bay leaf and peppercorns and pour in lentils. Give a stir and allow water to come to a boil again. Then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until just tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Pour diced carrots and chopped celery into a large bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, add Dijon and pour in walnut or olive oil in a slow stream. Whisk until combined. Add sherry vinegar and agave or maple syrup and give one more whisk.
- Drain cooked lentils. While lentils are still hot, pour them over the carrots and celery. Pour vinaigrette over all. Stir gently to combine. Treat them to sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Alternately, you may store lentils in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight or up to three days. Allow lentils to come to room temperature before serving. Place arugula or spinach on a platter and mound lentils on top or gently mix greens into lentils in a large bowl.
- Very nice garnished with chopped toasted walnuts and a gilding with of walnut or olive oil, a French indulgence, but hey, cheaper a a Chanel outfit.
- Serve with French baguette or whole grain bread.