If you haven’t tried lentils before, then my Cold Lentil Salad is a great recipe to start with. This vegan, gluten free salad is packed with protein and fiber and perfect to bring along to work, picnics, and BBQ’s.
Lentils are part of the legume family, in addition to beans, peas, and peanuts. However, compared to other dried beans, lentils are fairly quick and easy to prepare. They don’t need to be pre-soaked, which will dramatically reduce your cooking time. Lentils are the perfect blank canvas for your meals. They will soak up any type of flavor you add and are perfect for soups, stews, and salads.
To cook lentils, place your desired amount into a pot and cover with water or broth. Boil for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, then reduce to a simmer until tender. Depending on the variety of lentil you have, the cooking time may take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour. There are three main types of lentils, brown, green, and red. Brown lentils cook fairly quickly and can be mushy if you cook them too long. Green lentils have a thin shell, are slightly tough, and take longer to cook. Red lentils have the hull removed and cook quicker than the other two varieties. They do not hold their shape well, but are great to help thicken a dish or to create a puree.
When I am preparing my Cold Lentil Salad, I start with cooking the lentils according to the package directions. (I like to end up with 4 cups of cooked lentils.) While the lentils are cooking I chop 1 cucumber, 1 red bell pepper, 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, and 1/2 onion.
In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp salt & pepper, and 1 tsp chili powder. Once the lentils are finished cooking, I place the lentils and chopped vegetables in a large bowl and stir in the dressing. Easy as that you are finished! Place your completed salad in a refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The cooler the salad becomes before serving the better!
I love that this cold salad is full of different textures. The crunchy vegetables and chewy lentils make for the perfect well-rounded dish. You will definitely want to make this recipe part of your summer routine. It’s a great side dish, or even light dinner salad. Enjoy!
- 4 cups Cooked Lentils
- 1 Cucumber
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 3 Tbsp Fresh Parsley
- 1/2 Onion
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1/3 cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tsp Salt & Pepper
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- Cook lentils according to package directions.
- While lentils are cooking, chop the cucumber, bell pepper, onion and parsley.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the minced garlic, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt/pepper and chili powder.
- Once the lentils are finished, place the lentils and chopped vegetables in a large bowl.
- Stir in the dressing and mix well.
- Place in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The cooler the salad is when served, the better!