Lemony Lentils with Asparagus and Za'atar

There are some ingredients that just sit and sit in our kitchen. We've had packages of dried beans and triticale berries that have been tucked away for months... ok, years. The same can be said for lentils. I just never think to do anything with them. It's not the first thing I reach for. But once in a while I consider all the wonderful things I can do with those neglected items and something magical comes to fruition. 

It's been a delight to have asparagus back in our lives. I really missed those vibrant green stalks and was thrilled when our food coop offered them as part of their bulk selection. They've been on top of every salad, every pasta dish, and, now, these lentils. A zingy lemon dressing and a sprinkle of za'atar give it depth and brightness, all the things you want in a side paired with grilled fish, meat, and vegetables. 

All of this has inspired me to bust out the triticale berries and they're now soaking in a bowl on the counter. It'll become a salad/side dish to bring to the Cape this weekend. I've learned it's best to prepare big batches of food in advance, to limit the amount of kitchen time. I have more important things to do. Hammocks to lay in. Gin and tonics to drink. #priorities

I've been distracted these last few weeks with photography projects (all good stuff, but, you know, I could use a little vacation right now), so I forgot to share this interview I did over on Food52. I talk all about the things that inspire me and my love for salads.  

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Lemony Lentils with Asparagus and Za'atar

Yield
6-8 servings

Ingredients
1.5 cups lentils
4.5 cups water
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
Kosher salt
1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and stalks cut into 3/4 inch pieces
Olive oil
1 teaspoon za'atar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary

Directions
1. Place the lentils, onion and carrot to a pot. Cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until lentils are tender. Drain the lentils and vegetables in a colander and set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and cook for 3-5 minutes. Season with salt, to taste.

3. In a serving bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, chopped rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer the lentils and vegetables to the dressing and toss to combine. Sprinkle with cooked asparagus, za'atar, lemon zest, and some kosher salt.