Dietary guidance: v
1 cup dried lentils
3 bay leaves
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled and bruised (lightly mashed), plus 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
6 ounces feta, crumbled
18 pitted kalamata olives
Pick over the lentils and discard any stones. Rinse the lentils and place in a large saucepan with the bay leaves, the 4 bruised garlic cloves, and oregano. Cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and cool.
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, 2 cloves minced garlic, and the cumin in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss the vinaigrette with the lentils, onion, red bell pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Let sit 20 minutes. Season as needed with additional salt, pepper and vinegar.
This salad can be prepared to this point up to 6 hours in advance.
To serve, toss the lentil salad with the mint and place on a platter. Garnish with the crumbled feta, olives and mint sprigs.