Like a fine wine, this salad improves with time. Although it’s delicious right away, it tastes even better the next day when all the good flavors have had a chance to get to marry and soak into the lentils in a truly delightful way.
Lentils are one of those foods that seem to have everything going for them – they’re filling, they’re tasty, they’re affordable and they’re good for you – chock full of protein, iron, fiber, folate and vitamin B. They’re also a great choice for diabetics.
As with many of the salads I like, this one is open to interpretation — there are lots of potential additions — or you can keep it simple. I had some sweet peppers, celery and carrots on hand so I went with those bright and crunchy additions along with a generous helping of chopped Italian parsley and cilantro.
Make plenty of this to ensure that you get to enjoy the even more delicious leftovers. It should keep for a few days in the fridge.
Even Better the Next Day Lentil Salad adapted slightly from the lovely blog, My New Roots
Serves 4-6 as a side
* 2 ¼ cups (1 lb.) Du Puy lentils
* 1/4 medium red onion, finely diced
* 1 cup dried currants (you could also use raisins or other dried fruit and chop them up finely)
* 1/3 cup capers
* Fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, cilantro, basil or mint) to taste
* 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
* 1 medium bell pepper, seeds and stem removed and diced
* 1 clove of garlic, peeled
* 1 bay leaf
For the dressing:
* 1/3 cup cold pressed, extra virgin organic olive oil
* 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
* 1 Tbsp maple syrup
* 1 Tbsp strong mustard
* 2 tsps sea salt
* 2 tsps freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1/2 tsp turmeric
* 1/2 tsp ground coriander
* ½ tsp ground cardamom
* 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
* ¼ tsp ground cloves
* 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
* ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1. Rinse the lentils well and pick through them to remove any dirt or bits of rock. Drain them, then put them in a pot with the garlic clove and the bay leaf and cover with 3-4 inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil then turn the heat down and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. You should start testing the lentils for doneness at around 15 minutes in, just in case, since you don’t want to overcook them – mushy lentils are just not as appealing as toothsome ones.
2. While the lentils are simmering, make the dressing by placing all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine. If you don’t have all the spices, don’t despair, it will probably still taste good with just some of them – for my money, the cumin and coriander are the most important ones to include.
3. Dice up the onion (very fine) and chop up your veggies and herbs, trying to get the vegetables cut to roughly the same size. If you’re using raisins instead of currants, I’d chop them up a bit and you can do the same with the capers if you have large ones.
4. When the lentils are finished, take the pot off the heat, drain it and fill with cold water to stop the lentils from continuing to cook (and getting mushy). After a few minutes, drain the water out and pour the lentils into a serving bowl and toss with the dressing. Add the onions, herbs, veggies, currants and capers (and any other ingredients you’ve chosen to add) and serve.
As I mentioned, this tastes even better the next day so you can definitely make it ahead of time and just keep it covered in the fridge.
You might also like:
- Mujadara – Lentil, Rice & Onion Stew from Syria
- Warm, Spiced Chickpea & Arugula Salad
- Hummous with Caramelized Onions, Topped with Golden Beets, Greek Yogurt & Pinenuts