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Lentils With Apples and Ham, a salad with a French twist

| Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

While our kids are eating turkey hot dogs for lunch, students in France apparently are feasting on ham and lentils, a traditional French combination. Jealous of that Gallic entree, I modernized the idea with this salad, in which the ham is moved from main focus to accessory. Diced apple adds an American accent. The change in proportions makes this a well-balanced lunch dish when served with whole-grain bread or as a side at dinner with roast chicken.

The dish can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

Stephanie Witt Sedgwick is a contributing writer for The Washington Post.

Lentils With Apples and Ham

1 cup dried green lentils (about 7 ounces)

Water

14 cup olive oil, divided

12 cup finely diced onion

Kosher salt

1 large or 2 small, sweet, crisp apples, peeled, cored and cut into generous 14-inch dice (about 1 14 cups)

4 ounces low-sodium smoked ham, trimmed of all fat, cut into 14-inch cubes (about 1 cup)

3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard

1 tablespoon honey

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Place the lentils in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Partially cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, or as needed, so the water is barely bubbling at the edges. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are just tender. Drain the lentils and transfer them to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat half of the oil in a medium nonstick skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, stirring to coat; reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 4 minutes, until the onion has softened. Stir in the apple(s); cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until just softened.

Add the ham and stir to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the ham has heated through. Add the mixture to the drained lentils.

Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the vinegar, mustard and honey in a liquid measuring cup to form an emulsified dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the lentil mixture, then add the parsley. Toss gently to incorporate and coat well. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes about 8 servings (5 12 cups).

Nutrition information per serving: 190 calories, 7 grams fat, (1 gram saturated), 5 milligrams cholesterol, 9 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams dietary fiber, 160 milligrams sodium

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