Not just another lentil salad….this is Can’t-Stop-Eating-It delish. Made with green lentils, feta, tomatoes, cucumber and drizzled with a beautiful lemon salad dressing. Cooking the lentils in a simple flavoured broth rather than just water or marinating canned lentils in the dressing makes all the difference – you will be amazed!
“OMG! That Lentil Salad!”, my friend exclaimed as we stood shivering in the cold, fully covered head to toe in waterproof gear, throwing toys into the water for our dogs. Prancing out of the way of the spray of ice cold water when they shook right next to us (where else would they do it?), yelling at them if they dared to leap up and touch us.
I realise it’s completely ironic to be talking about a lentil salad when I’m describing a freezing cold winter day at the dog beach, but I think that’s a testament as to how good this salad is – that my friend got so excited about it even though we’re in the height of winter and it should be all about soups and stews.
I really hate blowing my own horn, but truly, I promise, this is not just another lentil salad. And there’s just one little thing I do differently that makes all the difference – cook the lentils in flavoured liquid. 🙂 Nothing fancy here, just adding some vegetable or chicken broth, some fresh or dried herbs, garlic, lemon zest (the juice is used for the dressing) and some floppy celery I found in the fridge.
Try it. You will be amazed. You can eat it plain. Seriously!
I made this recipe with dried lentils which is my preferred way because it soaks up all the flavour while cooking. But I’ve also included directions for how to make canned lentils extra tasty – just warm them up then drizzle with a bit of dressing, leave to soak up the flavour. Works a treat!
I was actually contemplating making this recipe just about how to make the tasty lentils, rather than a salad recipe. But at the last minute, I couldn’t resist all that bright colour and the overall deliciousness of a lentil salad that will wipe away any bad memories you may have of tasteless, soggy lentil salads!
So while I have provided the recipe for this whole salad, I’ve also added notes for other ways to use the flavoured lentils as a side and warm salads.
As for the name? Well, it came about after a lengthy, serious discussion that went something like this (still on that freezing cold winter day at the dog beach):
Me: What should I call it?? Lentil Salad just sounds so meh. Think I can get away with calling it a SEXY Lentil Salad?
My friend: Yes!
And thus the name was born. 😉
Enjoy! – Nagi xx
Not just another lentil salad....this is Can't-Stop-Eating-It delish. Made with green lentils, feta, tomatoes, cucumber and drizzled with a beautiful lemon salad dressing. Cooking the lentils in a simple flavoured broth rather than just water or marinating canned lentils in the dressing makes all the difference. Outrageously long-looking ingredient list is misleading! Keeps well for 2 days, recipe video below.
- 1 cup / 200g dried green lentils (or other lentils) (Note 1 for canned)
- 1 cup / 200g vegetable or chicken broth (or water + 1 bouillon cube, crumbled)
- 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml water
- 1 large garlic clove , smashed (Note 2)
- Lemon peel (about 1.5 x 5 cm / 3/4 x 2")
- 1 bay leaf , dry or fresh
- 2 sprigs thyme , or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 rib celery , broken into 3 or 4 pieces (or just a handful of leafy fronds)
- 250 g / 8oz cherry tomatoes , halved or quartered (Note 3)
- 2 cucumbers , cut into quarters then diced
- 1 red onion , finely diced
- ¼ cup coriander / cilantro , finely chopped
- ¼ cup parsley , finely chopped
- 90 g / 3 oz feta , crumbled (or more!)
- 2 handfuls rocket / arugula lettuce (optional - bed for salad)
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup / 85 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 tsp sugar, optional
- ½ tsp salt + black pepper
Place Lentil ingredients in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes for firm (I like this) or 25 minutes for soft. DO NOT overcook and make it mushy!
Drain in a colander, pick out celery etc. Rinse VERY quickly just to remove any grit coating the lentils (don't want to rinse away flavour!). Set aside.
Place Dressing ingredients in a jar, shake well.
Place lentils, tomato, cucumber, onion, coriander, parsley and some of the feta in a large bowl. Pour over most of the Dressing, then toss.
Place rocket lettuce on a serving platter. Pile salad on top. Drizzle over remaining Dressing and crumble over feta. Serve! (I like serving with pita bread to stuff it in)
1. This recipe can be made with any lentils except I don't recommend red (gets too mushy, is good for curries and soups). My favourite is green because of the size and because it holds its shape well when cooked, making it perfect for salads. Adjust cook time to lentil type - start checking for doneness at 20 minutes.
CANNED LENTILS: Drain and rinse, the microwave briefly until warmed through. Pour over some of the dressing (hot lentils soak up flavour better), stir then leave to marinate for 1 hr+ (even overnight is fine). Then proceed with recipe (no need to make extra Dressing).
2. Smashing Garlic: Makes it burst open to release flavour into the liquid but still easy to pick out. Just use the side of your knife and press down with your palm so the garlic bursts open, slip skin off and discard.
3. You could also use 3 tomatoes but make sure you deseed them i.e. scrape out and discard watery centre, then dice. Otherwise it will make the salad soggy.
4. STORAGE: A rare gem that truly keeps well for 2 days. Keep rocket lettuce separate because the Dressing will make it soggy. The less Dressing on the Lentil Salad = keeps better. It would keep for longer except I never keep raw garlic longer than 48 hours for safety reasons (can cause nasty food poisoning).
5. OTHER WAYS to use this way of cooking lentils:
a) Warm side with more stuff: Start by sautéing crushed garlic, finely chopped onion, carrot and celery with oil in a saucepan, then add Lentil ingredients per recipe (skip the garlic and celery) and cook. Drain then serve warm as a terrific side.
b) Warm meal: Follow a) then return to pot, stir through handfuls of baby or chopped spinach, top with fried runny yolk egg and burrata/yoghurt (something wet or salty), drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with paprika and squeeze of lemon.
c) Make a warm salad by adding roasted pumpkin or sweet potato.
d) Make a thin omelette and put spoonfuls of this inside with other stuff like feta/cheese/tomatoes, roll up or fold omelette.
6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 4 servings.
Sexy Lentil Salad recipe video!
LIFE OF DOZER
The amount of water his fur holds is outrageous. PS It was 8C / 45F on the day I took this.