Lentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil

Lentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil

There is a tiny, thoughtfully curated bookstore on a North-west corner of San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood. I was a few minutes early for a lunch nearby and couldn't help but pop in for a quick browse. Five minutes later I walked out with Lunch at the Shop: The Art and Practice of the Midday Meal. It is an inspired volume by long-established Seattle book store owner Peter Miller celebrating the simple pleasures achieved by taking and appreciating (what I consider) a proper lunch. The emphasis is firmly put on food that is simple, fresh, thoughtful, and often communal. Said another way - lunch doesn't need to be complicated or elaborate to be meaningful.

Lentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and BasilLentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and BasilLentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil

Taking time for lunch. This book struck such a note with me because there are few things that can make more of a difference in your day than this gesture. It's something I believe in, and something I do my best to put into practice whether I'm sitting down by myself, with a few friends, or with many. There is something incredibly positive and optimistic about this small volume with the happy, tomato-red cover. On a practical level it is filled with thoughts and advice on how to eat well, pace your day, and stock your work pantry...but it comes together into something beyond the sum of its sections and chapters. I love that it exists as a reminder of how important this break in the day can be - how it can help relationships grow, how it can help energize, nourish, and revive, and how in-sourcing lunch can bring a bit of magic to a work environment.

Lentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil

I made the Lentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil. A double batch, in fact. It was enjoyed on walnut bread, tartine-style, for multiple days. Friends that can't handle wheat or gluten can enjoy this combination on appropriate crackers or wrapped in a sturdy, fresh leaf of romaine lettuce. It has lentils, loads of spinach (arugula is great too), herbs, and Greek yogurt - a hearty, healthy, satisfying line-up of ingredients that set you up strong for the rest of the afternoon!

Lentils folded into Yogurt, Spinach, and Basil

5 from 2 votes

Make the lentil mixture ahead of time, then assemble at work. It's great atop a slice of toasted bread, on its own, or in a lettuce leaf.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups baby spinach or arugula
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • fine grain sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • to serve: grilled/toasted bread and/or romaine lettuce leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts or walnuts and cook until lightly toasted, 5 to 7 minutes. Lay them out on a wood cutting board to cool, then chop them roughly to the size of the lentils.
  2. If your knife is sharp enough to slice the spinach and basil leaves without bruising them, gently cut them into bite-sized pieces. Otherwise, tear by hand.
  3. Place the lentils in a bowl and mix in the spinach, basil, parsley, and garlic. Squeeze the lemon into the lentils (mindful to omit the seeds), mix, and then fold in the yogurt. Mix again, and then pour in the olive oil, stirring, as you do, to combine. At this point, taste the mixture, and season with salt, and two good grindings of pepper. Finally, fold the roasted nuts into the dish, and finish with a drizzle of oil.
  4. The lentils and greens will keep in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for at least three days.
  5. When you're ready to assemble, bring the lentil mixture to room temperature. Give it a taste, and adjust with more salt or some lemon juice. It can go on toasted levain, or along with lettuce (as more of a salad), or in a large lettuce leaf (as a wrap). Finish with some Parmesan shavings. I also couldn't help add some herb flowers I had on hand, but those are, of course, optional.
Serves
4
Prep Time
7 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
17 mins
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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  • A healthy lunch enjoyed away from a computer screen -- nourishing for body and soul. I'll definitely be trying a vegan version of this one. Thanks!

    Anne @aveganadventure
  • I used to live on Potrero hill in the early nineties and loved to browse the little book shop on that corner. In fact I bought my beloved copy of the book "Verdura" by Viana la Place there. How wonderful that it is still there! The lentil lunch spread sounds lovely too, i will have to make it for lunch soon.

    doro
  • Lunch has to be my fave meal of the day after dessert:). Taking the time to prepare a quick meal during the day in credibly therapeutic. I simply love the book you are describing! I have to get myself a copy/

    Belinda@themoonblushbaker
  • Thank you for sharing such beautiful words about the humble middle-meal, I couldn't agree more with the sentiment. This recipe also looks divine.

    Rosie
  • i love simple recipes like this. interesting ingredients, easy for lunch, snack, or as a weeknight appetizer. thanks for sharing.

    meliSsa
  • How you make a lentils tartine look good, I don't know! I shouldn't be surprised by now. Loving these pictures and off to check out this book now, the cover only is lovely!

    Rebecca
  • Love love love lentils and yogurt. It's such an unusual pairing, but it just works. My favorite is a lentil onion yogurt casserole topped with extra sharp cheddar cheese. Delish!

    Erica Julson
  • Just simple n delicious...true tat food doesnt have to be complicated to be delicious...cant wait to try it...

    Anonymous
  • This is my kind of lunch! I will be trying this recipe very soon. And what a charming little book. As always, thank you for the beauty and inspiration.

    Heather
  • This looks so delishious! I love lentils and bread of course. Your pictures look absolutely amazing and I am really looking forward to preparing this dish! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Mademoiselle Gourmande
  • Heidi, no matter what you make, even the simplest food looks like a treasure for the appetite. I'll be thinking of this open face sandwich all day. You have a way with simple that is simply exquisite. Still a fan all these years later.

    angela@spinachtiger
  • I was just thinking the same thing today, as I sat down for lunch. When I'm at home, and working, it is pure luxury to step away from my computer and enjoy lunch at the kitchen table. Even if it's only leftovers, the chance to stop and pause renews me for the rest of the day.

    Elizabeth Minchilli
  • I love the sound of this book. Even though I eat lunch at my desk in the office most days, I've tried to make it feel that little bit special and take a few minutes out of the working day to really enjoy it. This recipe sounds really lovely.

    Kathryn
  • Spinach, Arugula, Basil, Parsley and Garlic will be hand picked from my garden in a month or two and i will make this. Thank you from my presious garden, so i can make this lovely recipe as fresh as it can get..

    Rok
  • Dear Heidi, I'm constantly eating lentils with joghurt these days, thanks to you. And I make a cauliflower salad with black pepper, too. I bought super natural everyday when it came out (three years ago?) and even though I used it occasionally it is only now that I find it incredibly inspiring and resourceful and I wanted to thank you for that. I'll try my take on your macaronn tarte today and I'm excited (it'll be my first attempt in a vegan macaroon topping). Anway, thank you. you give me food for thought on so many days.

    catherine
  • So agree about taking time for lunch. This past year I have made a real effort to get away from my desk at lunch and go sit somewhere nice either with a friend or a good book and some delicious food. This recipe looks delicious for perhaps adding to a wrap and taking to the park on a good day.

    Caroline @ Shrinking Single
  • What a charming book! I've been a Potrero Hill resident for 10 years - I'm a huge fan of Christopher's and I just had lunch at Plow today. This post makes me so happy. I can imagine how lovely this dish must taste with bright herbs, tart yogurt, and earthy lentils. Thank you for sharing the recipe - I hope to make it soon.

    Alanna
  • I find it very hard, at times, to make my point about the importance of a proper lunch break within the work day. Many times, taking a full lunch break is seen as laziness, or lack of initiative. Only the more forth-seeing encourage employees to take it, knowing that is crucial for creativity and productivity. My biggest dream would be, one day, being able to go home for lunch and make something good but delicious to enjoy at my own table. It happened once in my not-so-long working career and it was such a pleasure. Most of the time, it was about some leftover grains or pulses tossed in salads – quick and nourishing. This one sounds absolutely delicious. The lentil-toyoghurt ratio being 1:1 makes me think it is going to be extra creamy, and definitely worth a try! Thank you for sharing the book, too.

    Valeria
  • Gorgeous & unusual. Classic 101 :-)

    Robyn
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