Packed with wholesome ingredients and bursting with flavors, this Easy Lentil Salad is not only delicious, but also incredibly nutritious. The lemon maple vinaigrette is a delightful combination of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors that elevates the taste of the lentil salad to a new level.
Although not new, lentils are quickly surpassing chickpeas as the go-to superfood in pastas, chips and even pet food.
Lentils are a a tiny, round-shaped legume that has long been a staple in Indian cuisine (daal). In addition, these protein-packed lentils play a huge role in vegan cooking as a plant-based source of protein. They are grown in pods and come in a variety of sizes and colors (green, brown, black, red, yellow and green). Also, lentils are gluten-free!
Health benefits of eating lentils
Lentils are a superfood, packed full of nutritious goodness. These powerful legumes contain 18 grams of protein in one cup. They are full of fiber and are generous in polyphenols. Polyphenols fight off harmful agents in the body.
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WHY THIS LENTIL SALAD IS A MUST-TRY!
A vibrant and nourishing lentil salad that’s as good for your taste buds as it is for your health. This recipe is not only a feast for your senses but also a nutritional boost to your day.
- Balanced Nutrition: With a blend of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and a spectrum of vitamins and minerals from the vegetables, this lentil salad is a wholesome meal that fuels your body.
- Flavorful Fusion: The combination of tangy lemon maple vinaigrette with the earthy lentils and the vibrant veggies creates a harmonious medley of flavors and textures.
- Effortless and Versatile: This salad is simple to prepare, making it perfect for busy weeknight dinners or meal prep. Plus, you can easily customize it to suit your taste preferences.
- Nutritional Superstar: Lentils are renowned for their numerous health benefits, including promoting heart health, supporting digestion, and aiding weight management.
INGREDIENTS FOR EASY LENTIL SALAD
This lentil salad is a powerhouse of nutrients. Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and dietary fiber, supporting digestion and providing long-lasting energy. Although I recommend cooking the dried lentils, store-bought can be substituted as a time saver.
The colorful vegetables add vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while feta cheese contributes calcium and protein. The lemon maple vinaigrette provides healthy fats and a burst of tangy flavor.
In addition, this lentil salad is incredibly versatile and can be easily customized to suit individual preferences and dietary needs:
- Protein Power: For a vegetarian version of this lentil salad, you can swap the chicken stock with vegetable broth or use all water. You can also add grilled tofu, chickpeas, or your favorite plant-based protein to make the salad even heartier.
- Go Green: Enhance the salad’s nutritional profile by adding a handful of baby spinach or arugula. These leafy greens contribute additional vitamins and a burst of freshness.
- Play with Herbs: While parsley is fantastic, feel free to experiment with other fresh herbs like mint or basil for a unique twist.
- Colorful Veggies: Don’t hesitate to switch up the vegetables based on what’s in season, or what you have in your fridge. Bell peppers, grated carrots, or even roasted sweet potatoes can be wonderful additions.
- Feta Cheese: Easily leave out, or substitute with goat cheese. Try vegan cheese to make this a vegan lentil salad.
- Nuts for Nuts: If you’re a nut lover, substitute pepitas with toasted almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds for added crunch and nutty flavor. Try chia seeds for a nutritional boost.
- Dressing: Honey is a great substitute for the maple syrup. Additionally, substitute the lemon maple vinaigrette with a balsamic reduction for a sweeter, deeper flavor, or create a Tahini-based dressing for a unique Middle Eastern flair.
SERVING AND STORING EASY LENTIL SALAD
This lentil salad is fantastic at room temperature, making it an ideal option for picnics, potlucks, or outdoor gatherings. Cold lentil salad is incredibly refreshing, especially on hot days. Alternatively, if you prefer a warmer dish, consider briefly heating the prepped lentils before adding the fresh vegetables and vinaigrette.
Easily serve this protein-packed lentil salad as a refreshing main dish for lunch, a light dinner, or for meal prep. Here are a few other serving options:
- served as a hearty side dish alongside grilled chicken, fish, or roasted vegetables.
- with a side of crusty bread or stuffed inside warm, homemade pita bread
- layered in a mason jar with crisp greens
Store any leftover lentil salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Before serving leftovers, give the salad a gentle toss and drizzle on additional lemon maple vinaigrette, if needed.Print
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