1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4c. dried green lentils
2 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus 2 cups
1 bay leaf
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tsps. finely grated lemon peel
salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in large saucepan. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils. Add 2 1/2 cups of broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer gently until the lentils are just tender, about 15 minutes. (Note: if you use red lentils, the proportions stay the same but it will take 45 minutes to an hour to cook the lentils to tender.) Drain well. Transfer the lentils to a large bowl. (Note: I prefer to save the liquid and use in the next step, only adding enough new broth to make the measure.)
Meanwhile, bring the remaining 2 cups broth and bay leaf to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and return the broth to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently over low heat until the rice is tender and liquid is absorved, about 20 minutes. Do not stir the rice as it cooks. (Note: you can use brown rice, but cooking time will increase to 50 minutes-1 hours.) Remove the saucepan from the heat. Fluff the rice with a fork.
Transfer rice to the bowl with the lentils. Add the olives, parsley, thyme, and lemon peel. Toss the rice mixture with the remaining 3 Tbsp oil to coat. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.