December 19, 2019

Roasted & Marinated Roots With Smoky Yogurt, Crisp Lentils & Dill Vinaigrette

Recipe: Paul Kahan

Try this Roasted & Marinated Roots With Smoky Yogurt, Crisp Lentils & Dill Vinaigrette recipe from the new cookbook, Cooking for Good Times.

Don’t let “smoky yogurt” make you think I’ve gone all cheffy on you. Yeah, in the restaurant, the yogurt is actually smoked, but then I realized there’s some great-quality smoked sea salts out there that would also give you that effect (and you have to season the yogurt with salt anyway, so there you go). Liquid smoke also came up as a way to make this recipe more home cook-friendly, and though I dismissed it as a hack at first, I don’t believe the finest of palates could tell the difference between the real thing and the bottled thing. As for the crispy lentils, that idea came from Jonathon Sawyer, the amazing chef and wild man from Cleveland. He’s a total process guy, and every time I talk to him he’s got some technique he’s doing that’s really cool and delicious. He taught me that one way to get incredibly crispy lentils is to cook them until they’re tender, Cryovac them with a lot of olive oil and salt, and let them cure for a month before frying them. The final product is really good, but sorry, Johnny. Perry soaks them overnight and fries them in a skillet, and they’re just about as good. Perfect for all your crunchy-bit needs, or even on their own by the handful as a snack. So, you got your yogurt, you got your roots, you got your chicories drizzled with dill vinaigrette, and then there’s the smoky yogurt and crispy lentils over the top. It’s a pretty solid deal.


Crisp Lentils

  • 1⁄2 cup beluga or French lentils, soaked with water to cover by 2 inches overnight at room temperature
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Smoky Yogurt

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 tsp smoked sea salt, or a couple drops of liquid smoke, or 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp water

Dill Vinaigrette

  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill leaves
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp finely grated jalapeño chile
  • 1⁄4 tsp crushed red chile flakes

Root Vegetables

  • 1 small head chicory, such as radicchio, Castelfranco or endive, washed, trimmed and separated into individual leaves
  • 1 Fuji, Granny Smith or other crisp apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill leaves


Yield: Makes 6 servings

Make Crispy Lentils

  1. Drain the lentils well, shaking off as much excess water as you can. Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium high-heat until it shimmers and looks like it could almost smoke. Carefully add the lentils (they might sputter a bit) and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes, stirring often so they don’t stick to the bottom.
  2. Drain off as much oil from the pan as you can and transfer the lentils to a paper towel-lined plate. Season with the kosher salt and cayenne while still warm. Set aside until ready to serve or let cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Make The Smoky Yogurt

  1. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, oil, vinegar, chile flakes, smoked salt and water. Whisk until well combined. Set aside until ready to serve or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Make The Dill Vinaigrette

  1. Combine the oil, shallot, dill leaves, lime zest and juice, the brown sugar, kosher salt, jalapeño and chile flakes in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake it until it all comes together. Set aside until ready to use or store in the fridge for up to 2 days (the dill gets a little funky if it sits longer than that).

Put It Together & Serve

  1. Spread the yogurt over a serving plate. Scatter the root vegetables over the yogurt and tuck in the chicory leaves and apple slices. Spoon the vinaigrette over and top with fried lentils and the chopped dill.

Reprinted with permission from Cooking for Good Times by Paul Kahan, copyright (c) 2019. Published by Lorena Jones Books, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Photographs credit © Peden + Munk