Today’s recipe can be classified as food I never eat.
What do I mean by that? Well, when it comes to lentils, I almost exclusively eat them in soups and stews (see here and here and here). I rarely eat them in any other capacity, let alone in cold salad form. And I don’t know why! Because I love them.
This cold lentil salad is definitely a step outside my normal rotation. At least it WAS a step outside. Now, I’ll be making this all the time. Because it’s so delicious, despite being really good for you. Lentils are a power food; they’re loaded with fiber, protein, and tons of iron and vitamins.
I prefer French green lentils or red lentils for just about every use. They’re petite and tender and less…dirty tasting? Yeah, I think lentils taste like dirt. In the same way that beets and radishes do. “Dirty” food that actually qualifies as “clean eating”? Riddle me that.
Anywho. The smaller lentils are my preference here (and always), but of course, adjust to your tastes and what you may already have on hand. I have a sneaky suspicion that if you are a fan of any lentil, you’ll love this salad.
Not only is it yummy, but it completely satisfies without any meat or bread. It also comes together in no time flat. I made a large batch of this last week and kept it in the fridge for a few days as a quick, go-to healthy lunch or mid-afternoon snack that didn’t give me the late-afternoon digestion slump. It was a lifesaver.
Let’s talk about how it all comes together, shall we?
Tender lentils get tossed in a tangy, slightly sweet dressing and loaded up with some of my favorite things. Avocado. Feta. Herbs galore. Dried cherries (or cranberries). Paper-thin slices of cucumber and radish for crunch. It satisfies all my texture and flavor needs in one bowl.
Gotta love when that happens.
This is another one of my customizable recipes. Meaning, you can add or adjust the salad ingredients as much as you like. The concept is the important thing. Don’t like cucumber? Sub in some snap peas instead. Asparagus would also be fantastic. Don’t have dried cherries? Use dried cranberries or apricots. Just mix with the cooked lentils and dressing and you’re good to go.
I’m sure the next time I make this, there will be some sort of variation because I don’t always have the same ingredients on hand, or I may have some produce in the fridge that is on its last legs. I also get bored easily and almost never make a recipe exactly the same twice. The lentils and neutral dressing will work with just about anything!
Which makes this meal even easier and more convenient to throw together.
Which makes me very happy.
2 cup green lentils, rinsed well
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 avocado, sliced or cubed
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoon honey
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the lentils according to the package directions.
While the lentils are cooking, chop/slice the cucumbers, radishes, avocados, red onion, and herbs. Crumble the feta.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, and lime juice. Whisking constantly, slowing stream in the olive oil until the dressing thickens and emulsifies. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Drain the lentils well and then toss them in the dressing while they are still warm.
Gently toss the other ingredients into the lentils, reserving the herbs and feta cheese for garnish. Once everything is well mixed and evenly coated in the dressing, garnish with the herbs and feta cheese. Serve chilled or at room temperature.