Sort through the lentils to remove any stones or debris, then rinse well. Place in pot with water, garlic, bay leaves, and salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat, partly cover, and let simmer until the lentils are soft (and the liquid is gone*), about 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and pepper, then slowly whisk in the oil. Toss with the vegetables.
Discard the bay leaves, then stir the lentils into the vinaigrette-coated vegetables. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper as needed.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Most recipes call for cooking lentils in an abundance of water and then draining them, but I prefer to use just enough water so that all the liquid (and flavor) is absorbed. If you want to try it my way, start with 5 c water and add more as needed. On the other hand, if you plan to drain, add another ¼ t of salt to the water.
Adapted from the recipe in Tassajara Dinners & Desserts (read my review).
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