This Herbed Lentil Salad is full of plant-based protein and fiber from green lentils flavored with just a few simple spices. Combined with a mixture of sautéed and raw vegetables, each bite is a multi-textural experience. Served hot, cold, or anywhere in between, it’s perfect for meals on the go or at home.
“Um, Sara, I’m not sure there are enough lenses in here. All I see are lentils.”
Cue the laugh track. Admittedly, this was the first time anyone made that joke about a lentil dish I cooked, and I did think it was funny. If anyone has a witty response, I’m accepting proposals via snail mail and carrier pigeon. You’ll hear back from me in 5-7 business days.
Jokes aside, the beauty of this lentil salad lies in its simplicity. All it takes are six main ingredients and a handful of basic spices that even the novice chef has in her pantry. You can make it in stages, as your schedule allows, doing the cooked vegetables first and leaving the spicing and uncooked veggies until right before serving.
I desperately needed that flexibility this week, since I (finally) started putting together my portfolio. It’s been a vague, looming task on my to-do list for weeks already, that I just keep bumping over to the next week, hoping that one day it would magically be done. Alas, no such thing happened, unless we count ‘cracking down’ as magical. Truthfully, once I broke it up into smaller steps, I realized that it’s not so hard. Plus I get to check even more things off at the end of the day, which always makes me happy. Gotta love that sense of accomplishment you get when you’re a planner at heart.
Another thing that gives me that I-did-it high is knowing that there’s healthy, homemade food in the fridge, so that mealtimes are easy and stress-free. Therefore, we should all keep a batch of lentil salad on hand. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can mix it with anything else you like. The sky’s the limit with this one, guys.
Let me think, so far I’ve had it with avocado, feta cheese, a massive mixing bowl salad, and my Paleo Pesto Chickadees. They don’t seem like a natural pairing at first, but the basil in each makes them a good match.
Of course, lentils are such a powerhouse on their own that you could easily eat a helping of this lentil salad as the star of your meal. No more sad desk lunches for you. All your coworkers or classmates (whichever the case may be) will be hard-pressed to keep their eyes off your delicious rainbow eats, while you’re secure in the healthy choices you made and can focus your attention on the task at hand.
I think that deserves a gold star, don’t you?
Before I let you get started, a couple of notes on the recipe. My package of lentils said to cook them for 40 minutes, but frankly, I thought that was too long. I prefer a bit of chew, and only left them on the stove for half an hour, although it’s up to you. I recommend tasting a few after 30 minutes so that you can test out the texture. Next, it’s important to spice the lentils before you add in the other vegetables. I found that otherwise the spices stuck to the sautéed vegetables too much and didn’t distribute evenly.
Now you’re ready. On your mark, get set, lentil!
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram so that I can see your creations!
- 1 cup green lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 baby bella mushrooms, halved and sliced
- ½ large white onion, halved and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- ¾ cups grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 tsp basil
- ½ tsp salt
- black pepper, to taste
- Begin by rinsing the lentils. Add to a small pot with the water and bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes.*
- While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes.
- Put the mushrooms in the pan, reduce to a low flame, and cook for 15 minutes, continuing to stir.
- When the lentils are cooked, drain well. Next, mix them with the spices, adjusting to taste.
- Toss with the carrots, tomatoes, and sautéed vegetables.
- Store in the fridge for 1 week.