Cold Lentil Salad with Sausage

by Sarah on July 18, 2011

Did that title really grab you and make you say “Gosh, self, I’d really love to make some cold lentils with sausage”? It doesn’t really inspire, does it?   Why aren’t lentils more exciting? They’ve been part of the human diet for about 10,000 years.  Maybe we’re just taking them for granted.

I’m serious though, this salad was muthafuggin’ delicious.  And it just keeps getting better the longer it marinates in the vinaigrette.  Which means the leftovers just keep getting better and better.  Which is also good because this recipe makes a lot of lentils.

First you have to cook the lentils until they are tender.  You don’t have to soak the lentils or anything and they only take about a half hour to cook.  Cook them with an onion and a bouquet garni to give them some flavor.

Bouquet garni is just a fancy way to say “wrap up some herbs in a cheesecloth and tie it up like a mummy”.

So listen, this recipe is French.  And the French use those little green lentils called lentilles du Puys.  I had some while in France and they were indeed wonderful and had a nice minerally taste and firm texture.  Oh look!  There is my Parisian salad now.

Yeah.  So now I’m in Sacramento and the local grocery didn’t have any French green lentils.  I just used the regular brownish ones that were available.  They worked just fine, but just keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook and get mushy.

So while those are cooking, you can slice up some potato and cook them in another pot with the sausage.  Coincidentally, I didn’t have a nice garlicky saucisson.  I had to use a Nathan’s kielbasa, but that turned out to be just fine too–in fact more than fine, Nathan’s kielbasa was outstanding.  Cook gently  just until the potato is tender.  The sausage should already be cooked, you’re just warming it through.

Ok, so while those are BOTH cooking, whip up a vinaigrette.  Heavy on the Dijon, please.  You won’t regret it.

Ok.  So the lentils are done.  Drain and set aside.  Hit ‘em with vinegar and salt and let cool.

While that stuff is cooling, quickly saute a small dice of celery, carrot and onion.  Not till they’re mushy, just softened a bit.

Toss it all together and let it cool again.  Add in the chopped celery leaves and some parsley.  Serve on top of a bed of lettuce.  Pour yourself a good beer or glass of dry rose, go sit outside and enjoy the perfect summer evening.

If you have vegetarians around your house, just separate some lentils and vegetables prior to tossing in the sausage.

~Adapted from Fine Cooking~

Cold Lentil Salad with Sausage


  • 2 cups du Puy lentils or regular brown lentils
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1-1/2 small onion--the whole onion peeled and cut in two pieces, the 1/2 cut into small dice or brunoise
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small dice or brunoise
  • 1 large or 2 smaller stalks celery, cut into small dice or brunoise--celery leaves reserved for garnish
  • 1 whole smoked sausage, such as kielbasa
  • 1 large potato, cut into 1/4" slices, then quartered or halved (pieces approx the size of a quarter)
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. red-wine vinegar; more as needed
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head leafy lettuce


  • Make vinaigrette. Whisk together the red wine vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until combined and slightly thickened. Taste and season again.
  • Make a bouquet garni by placing the bay leaves, thyme, the sprigs of parsley, garlic and peppercorns into the center of a piece of cheesecloth. Tie with kitchen string. See photo above.
  • Rinse and pick over the lentils. Place in a saucepan with the whole peeled and halved onion and the bouquet garni. bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately lower to a gentle simmer—boiling can break the lentils—and simmer, uncovered, until just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. (If the water level drops below the surface of the lentils as they simmer, add a little more water.) When the lentils are tender, drain and set aside in a bowl and season with a little red wine vinegar and a little salt. Let cool.
  • Meanwhile, place the potato slices and kielbasa in another saucepan. Fill with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook gently until the potato slices are tender and the sausage is hot. Drain. Cut sausage on the bias into 1/4" slices.
  • While the sausage and potatoes are cooking, quickly saute the remaining onion, celery and carrot in a Tbsp of the olive oil just until a little softened. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss together the lentils, vegetables, potatoes and sausages with the vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Add the chopped parsley and celery leaves. Serve on top of leafy lettuce.
  • Keeps well and can be made ahead, separate from the lettuce.

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