Mediterranean Lentil Salad enhanced with refreshing dressing is a tasty way to eat a lot of protein and veggies. It is done in minutes and does not require sophisticated ingredients.
I am addicted to salads because they are so easy to prepare, for versatile flavors, and for their benefits. And for many other reasons! But now, let’s get back to our Mediterranean lentil salad recipe. Actually, it is a kind of Tabbouleh salad but adapted to my husband’s tastes. He is not a big fan of bulgur, but Mediterranean cuisine is his comfort zone.
Time is not my friend at all, and I am always in lack of time. So trying to keep my diet balanced, I always have to take care of what to have for dinner. And in most cases, the answer is simple – a salad is the best option! Otherwise, I risk either staying hungry or eating just sandwiches, which is not an option for me. Lentil, fresh vegetables, cheese, and delicious herb dressing are excellent ingredients for a hearty lunch or a light dinner.
This lentil salad is a balanced recipe that makes a great filling meal but low in carbohydrates. It is rich in fiber and nutrients, so necessary for our body.
Lentils come in various color palettes: brown, red, green, and even black lentils. For salads, I prefer puy lentils that have a stunning pepper flavor. This kind of lentils is just perfect for salads, even when boiled they keep their texture firm.
What are the benefits of lentils?
Lentils are one of the edible legumes full of benefits. Its nutritional values make it common in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, especially since it can be combined in many tasty dishes.
Lentils contain more protein than any other vegetable. The amount of protein in these legumes exceeds 35% of its weight, which means that it can easily substitute fish, meat, or dairy products. Lentils are rich in antioxidants, soluble and insoluble fiber that regulate intestinal transit and blood sugar. This legume is high in iron, magnesium, and zinc – minerals that ensure the proper functioning of the human body.
Other valuable nutrients that lentils contain are: folic acid, tryptophan, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1, and potassium.
How to boil lentils?
Not so many people use lentils in their diet but that’s a pity. Having a high nutritional value, it is a perfect substitute for animal proteins.
Dried lentils can be easily cooked at home without much effort and special skills. However, canned lentils are also a good option, especially if you do not have enough time to prepare your meal. For soups and stews, I recommend using red lentils. In salads, and I prefer green, brown, or black lentils, as they keep their shape better when boiling.
I know many of you avoid cooking lentils from starch, thinking that it is a long process. I used to avoid cooking dried legumes, such as chickpea or beans from starch, at the beginning of my culinary path. For note: you do not have to soak lentils as they cook pretty quickly.
So, rinse lentils well under a stream of cold water and remove any debris. Transfer lentils in a pot. Add three cups of water (or any other liquid) for one cup of lentils. Bring the pot to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, a bay leaf, and 2 cloves of garlic. Cover the pot with a lid and set your timer for 20-25 minutes. When the lentils are tender, drain the water and discard the bay leaf and garlic.
How to make Mediterranean Lentil Salad?
I absolutely love salads that are hearty enough to be meals, and this Mediterranean lentil salad recipe is just that. Packed with a bunch of fresh vegetables and a zippy dressing, this joyful salad will satisfy your healthy cravings.
I often add a refreshing note to my salads with heaps of fresh herbs. Parsley (or if you like cilantro) and mint work here just perfect. But today, I decided to play with dressing and made an outstanding vinaigrette with fresh herbs. Send to a blender bowl ⅓ cup of chopped parsley, ⅓ cup of chopped mint, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Process everything well until you get a creamy texture.
Now take care of vegetables. Feel free to add in or substitute any vegetables you like or have in your kitchen. My salad today will be made of cherry tomatoes, cucumber, colorful bell peppers, and red onion. Chop vegetables into medium size pieces and send them to a mixing bowl. Add ½ cup of kalamata olives and ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese. Coat the vegetables with dressing – drizzle as much as you like.
Grab a fork and enjoy!
- Depending on your preference, you can omit the cheese and add any other protein you want.
- For the vegetarian version, you can substitute Feta cheese with nut-based cheese or Tofu cheese.
- If you don’t like raw onion, substitute it with shallots, which are milder, or skip it at all.
- This Mediterranean lentil salad can be stored for several days in the fridge. It is perfect for a to-go meal or snack.
Mediterranean Lentil Salad
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup cucumber
- 1 1/2 cup red or yellow bell peppers
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
- 1 red onion small
- 1/2 cup Feta cheese crumbled
- 1/3 cup parsley
- 1/3 cup mint
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Send to a blender bowl ⅓ cup of chopped parsley, ⅓ cup of chopped mint, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Process everything well until you get a creamy texture.
- Chop vegetables into medium size pieces and send them to a mixing bowl. Add ½ cup of kalamata olives and ½ cup of crumbled feta cheese. Coat the vegetables with dressing - drizzle as much as you like.