crispy lentil and carrot salad with quick-pickled lemon

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1 1/3 cup rinsed lentils *
1 to 2 lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil (for coating the lentils)
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil (for the pine nuts)
1/4 cup pine nuts
15 ounces carrots
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons olive oil (for dressing)
Salt to taste


  1. Place the lentils in a small stockpot and cover with a few inches of water and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered until the lentils are al dente.* Preheat the oven to 425° F so that it is heated once the lentils are done.
  2. While the lentils are coming to a simmer and cooking: First, cut a lemon in half from root to stem. Cut the half lemon down its length so that you have two long wedges, and then very thinly slice the lemon wedges into triangular pieces. Place the lemon in a bowl, cover with a generous pinch of salt, and squeeze the other half of the lemon over it to cover. Use the juice of another half lemon if necessary to fully submerge the pieces.
  3. Once the lentils are done (but not mushy), strain and rinse them well. Let all the water drain away, and then move them to a sheet pan. Gently blot the lentils with a kitchen towel to make sure they are as dry as possible, and then use your hands to coat them with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread them out into an even layer, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir the lentils, shake them out into an even layer, and return them to the oven for another 10 minutes, until they’re crunchy.
  4. While the lentils are roasting: Melt 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts to the melted butter and cook stirring constantly, until the pine nuts become light brown. Shred the carrots with a food processor shredder attachment, spiralizer, or box grater. Chop the parsley and mint, if you haven’t already.
  5. Combine the roast lentils, quickled lemons, pine nuts, carrots, herbs, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a big bowl, holding back some of the herbs and other toppings for garnishing. Mix together, taste, and add more lemon juice, olive oil, and salt to your own taste. Garnish (either the big bowl, or individual plates) and serve.   * You can use any variety of lentils for this recipe, but the cook times will vary. I find that packages typically overestimate the amount of time lentils take to cook, so taste often. In my experience, brown lentils take about 15 to 20 minutes to become al dente (although most packages say 50! I don’t get it).