Lunch has never been my favorite meal and I think I know why. At home on the weekends, it seems to be more of a chore than anything else. The girls are usually not starving, because they had a late breakfast – and they never know what to eat. If it were up to them they would have a brunch every day – with eggs, pancakes, bacon, etc… At work, although I am starving, I have to force myself to get to the cafeteria just to get something healthy in my body. Then I just march back up the five flights of stairs just to sit in my office and eat while I catch up on email. How is that healthy?
When I am traveling in Europe it is completely different. Even when I am in the office we take the time to go to the cafeteria and sit down and eat – that is if we don’t get out of the building and eat somewhere else. Even when we have meetings, we take the time to have lunch. When I studied there during college, I remember that was the only meal that I didn’t eat with my French family – that was their family time – the kids left school to go home for lunch, and that was the big meal of the day. It makes sense – you have hours to burn off the food and then you eat a light dinner before going to bed.
When I am home on the weekends, my go-to-lunch is an egg sandwich. I tend not to eat eggs for breakfast, but by lunch time that is exactly what I need. I have been staring at the lentils in my pantry for quite a while now, when this recipe flew out of the stacked pile from Cooking Light. A big light bulb went off in my head. Instead of my typical egg sandwich, why not take the time to make this lentil salad that I can enjoy a few times this week, and cook a soft boiled egg to go on top – just like the beautiful picture next to the recipe. I swear, it was calling me.
My egg was probably a little softer than the recipe called for – but it was perfect for me. The yolk drizzled over the top of the arugula and the combination with the lentils was to die for. By the time this was done, the girls had already eaten, and were upstairs – so I had the kitchen to myself. It was almost luxurious – sitting there with my beautiful salad. Not having to get up and get something for someone. I took my time, and savored every bite. Now I can see why lunch is so appealing – if only life always quieted down during the middle of the day. Keep dreaming…
- 1 1/4 cups dried petite green lentils
- 6 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 1/4 cups diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 8 cups baby arugula
Place lentils in a medium saucepan. Cover with water to 3 inches above lentils; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain and keep warm.
Add water to a large saucepan to a depth of 3 inches; bring to a boil. Add eggs; boil 5 minutes and 30 seconds. Drain. Plunge eggs into ice water; let stand 5 minutes. Drain and peel.
Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Set aside 2 tablespoons oil mixture. Add lentils, bell pepper, onions, and celery to remaining oil mixture; toss gently to coat. Place reserved 2 tablespoons oil mixture and arugula in a large bowl; toss to coat.
Place about 3/4 cup lentil mixture and about 1 cup arugula mixture on each of 6 plates. Cut eggs in half lengthwise; top each serving with 2 egg halves. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
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