Petite green lentils are sometimes labeled "le puy lentils." Other lentils also will work, but the cook time could change, so make sure they are tender before you drain and rinse them.
- 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dried petite green lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups uncooked orecchiette pasta ("little ears" pasta)
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To prepare vinaigrette, combine first 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until well blended. To prepare salad, combine broth, lentils, and bay leaf in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Discard bay leaf.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting the salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Combine lentils, pasta, zucchini, and remaining ingredients. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss well. Store in an airtight container.