This lentil salad recipe is one of the favorite recipes of all those who follow a vegan diet or people who want to start eating more plants.
This salad is full of flavor, texture and, above all, has a high nutritional value. Plus, it’s a quick and easy recipe that allows you to explore new healthy and delicious food options.
Why are lentils so important for vegans?
Veganism, more than a passing fad, has become a lifestyle for many, based on respect for animals and the search for a more sustainable and healthy life.
Within this framework, it is essential to have varied and nutritious recipes that provide all the necessary nutrients. In this sense, lentils become a star ingredient.
Lentils are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and iron, three key components of a balanced diet, especially when animal products are not consumed.
But beyond these nutritional wonders, lentils can also be delicious and versatile, capable of adapting to a variety of preparations, including salads.
Incorporating lentils in salads is an excellent way to take advantage of all these nutritional benefits while enjoying a fresh and delicious dish.
Lentils can be combined with a wide range of vegetables and condiments, creating endless possibilities so you’ll never get bored of your lentil salad.
Benefits of lentils
Lentils are legumes rich in protein and fiber, making them an essential food, especially in vegan and vegetarian diets. They have an impressive nutritional value that includes minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, as well as vitamin B and antioxidants. Lentils are especially beneficial to health for several reasons:
Proteins. They are an excellent source of protein, a crucial component our body needs for growth and repair.
Fiber. Lentils are rich in dietary fiber, which is essential for maintaining good digestive health and can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and weight gain.
Iron. The iron contained in lentils is an important component in preventing anemia, especially in vegan and vegetarian diets where traditional animal sources of iron are absent.
Type of lentils
There are different varieties of lentils, each with its own characteristics and nutritional benefits. Among the most popular are green, brown, and red lentils, which vary in size, flavor, and cooking time, but all are highly nutritious and versatile for cooking.
Ingredients for lentil salad
- Lentils: Green lentils, beluga lentils, or French lentils are an excellent choice, as they keep their shape after cooking. Do not use red lentils for this recipe. Make sure they are well cooked but not too soft so that they keep their shape and have a nice texture in the salad.
- Celery, carrot, onion, and red bell pepper. Include the vegetables you like. Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and leafy greens like spinach and arugula also work well with lentils.
- Fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, or basil
- Dijon mustard vinaigrette, simple vinaigrette, lemon dressing, or balsamic vinegar dressing is also perfect.
- Feta cheese if you get vegan cheese; otherwise, you can also finish it with nuts, seeds, or croutons. Nuts and seeds, such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds, can also add a crunch and extra nutrients.
The best way to cook lentils
- 1 cup lentils
- 3 cups of water or vegetable stock
- Salt to taste
- Wash the lentils: Place the lentils in a fine mesh strainer and rinse them under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Cook the lentils: Put the washed lentils in a saucepan and add the water or broth. The liquid should cover the lentils by at least two centimeters. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Leave until the lentils are soft but still retain their shape. Add more liquid if necessary.
- Drain the lentils. They are ready to serve or use in other recipes.
How to make lentil salad healthy?
In a large bowl, prepare the vinaigrette, then add the lentils and chopped vegetables. Mix well, check seasoning, adjust if necessary, and finish with fresh herbs and feta cheese.
Variations for salad
One of the great advantages of lentil salad is its versatility. Although the basic recipe is already delicious, there are endless variations you can try. As I always tell you, take my recipe as a base and make it your own; prepare whatever your family likes best.
- With different types of lentils: Try different varieties of lentils, such as brown or black lentils, to change the texture and flavor of the salad.
- With other grains, add quinoa, bulgur, or even rice to your salad to add variety and substance.
- With fruits: Some fruits, such as apples or pears, can combine very well with lentils.
- With spices: Don’t limit yourself to salt and pepper. Try spices such as cumin, turmeric, paprika, or even curry to give your salad an exotic touch.
How to Serve Lentil Salad
Lentil salad can be served as a main dish or as a side dish to accompany other dishes. If it is served as a main dish, you can add a more substantial ingredient, such as tofu, tempeh, or even some other legume.
Other legume recipes that you will like:
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- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrots
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup vegan feta cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing:
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and chop the carrot, slice the celery, finely chop the red onion and slice the red bell pepper.
- In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
- Add lentils and vegetables, mix well.
- Taste the salad and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- You can serve the salad immediately, or refrigerate it for an hour to allow the flavors to blend.
Rinse the lentils and put them in a saucepan with the water or broth.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until tender but not too soft.
If the lentils absorb all the liquid and are not yet cooked, add a little more water.
How to store lentil salad?
This salad keeps well in the refrigerator for several days, making it an excellent option to prepare in advance.
Nutritional information of this recipe is only an estimate, the accuracy for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.