LENTIL SALAD WITH SUMMER SQUASH

For the salad:

  • 3 cups water
  • 4 small yellow summer squash or zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 small stalk celery, cut into 1" lengths
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 cup dried Lentils
  • 2 green onions, including tops, sliced
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice or water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • Pinch ground red pepper  

To prepare the salad: In a medium-size saucepan, bring the water to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the squash and cook for 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squash to a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain well; place in a large bowl.

Stud 2 celery pieces with the cloves and add all the celery to the boiling water. Stir in the lentils, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are just tender. Drain well and add to the bowl with the squash; discard the celery and cloves.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, apple juice, oil, lemon rind, salt, fennel seeds if desired, and red pepper until smooth. Or place the dressing ingredients in a small jar, cover tightly, and shake until blended.

Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 1 hour (will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days). Stir in the green onions and cherry tomatoes if desired; serve chilled or at room temperature. Serves 4.