Place the lentils and olive oil in a 4 qt. saucepan. Heat over medium and stir to coat lentils. Add the water, spices, onion, and garlic. Stir. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour, covered, or until the lentils are cooked but slightly crunchy. Don't overcook. Drain the lentils and place in a bowl. Remove the bay leaf. Allow to cool before dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar and oil. Pour onto the lentils and toss to coat. Taste for salt. Set aside.
In a dry skillet, roast the walnuts over medium heat, constantly moving the nuts in the pan. Watch closely so they do not burn.
When they start to smell toasty, move them a plate to cool. Roughly chop them into small pieces.
Toss the salad with the toasted walnuts and minced parsley.
Serve warm or at room temperature, but not cold, on a bed of spinach or lettuce leaves. Crumble the feta or goat cheese on top.
Recipe by Jane O'Riordan
Terre Rouge and Easton Wines