Lentil Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumbers
I consider lentils one of my secret weapons to health and feeling amazing. When I stopped eating meat a few years ago I quickly learned that lentils are an amazing source of plant-based protein and iron, at 18 grams per cup. And unlike meat, they are packed with fiber too. The problem at first though, was that I didn’t care for these little legumes all that much, and I really didn’t know what to do with them.
After a few years of playing around with lentil recipes, however, I just love them. Lentils are versatile – they aren’t too flavorful which means they can go from Mediterranean inspired dishes like this one to Indian curries. Lentils are hearty and filling, and my choice for lunch after an intense workout or in warm autumn and winter soups. You can read all about How to Cook Lentils here.
Why I Love Lentil Salads
There’s one recipe that turned me from lentil skeptic to lentil lover. The Goopster herself, Gwyneth Paltrow gets the credit for that. From the first time I tried her Lentil Salad with Mustard and Tomatoes via Self Magazine, I was hooked. Since then I’ve added and adapted the recipe to what you see here. If you’re trying to eat better at work, this is a fabulous recipe to make on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week. It’s one I eat often as I sit down to my computer work after a good morning workout. I also love adding this lentil salad to Buddha Bowls piled high with any veggies we happen to have, hummus, and pita bread.
What Are Lentils?
Lentils are in the same legume and pulse family as beans. I keep dried beans and lentils of many varieties in my pantry, but lentils are a bit more convenient as they don’t need to be soaked before cooking. Rather than the hours it takes to soak and cook dried beans, lentils go from pantry to table in under 45 minutes.
How to Make a Great Lentil Salad
- The trick to cooking delicious lentils is to cook them just the right amount. In soups they can be cooked until they are falling apart, but in cold salads like this one, they should remain slightly chewy. No one likes a mushy salad.
- Season with a flavorful vinaigrette.
- Add colorful and flavorful ingredients like tomatoes, olives, onions, and greens.
Have you tried lentil salads yet? This one is my all-time favorite, so I hope you’ll try it!
Update: I have a new favorite lentil salad you’ll love. Check out this Mediterranean Lentil Salad.
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon coarse seeded mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into 1-inch long slices
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I like multicolored heirlooms)
- 1 Persian cucumber, sliced into half-rounds
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives (optional)
- Sort and rinse lentils well to remove any little stones or debris. Bring lentils and 4 cups of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan with lid tilted. Simmer about 20-25 minutes until lentils are just tender. Drain and cool.
- Meanwhile, in a small-medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustards, and salt.
- Gently combine the lentils with the mustard vinaigrette, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, and olives if using.
- Serve alone or over a bed of your favorite greens. Sometimes I add artichoke hearts to this salad or serve it as a "Buddha Bowl" with hummus, pita bread, and any other veggies I have on hand.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 276Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 676mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 6gSugar: 11gProtein: 6g