Lentils are the stuff of good health. Packed with protein and fiber (and many helpful vitamins,) many consider lentils to be a super food. I love how versatile they can be–and this recipe is a great example of that. I stumbled on this on a blog called My New Roots. The spice blend is truly unexpected and extraordinary, and it takes the humble lentil to a new level. A small warning: between the spices and the red onion, this salad packs some heat, so cut back if you feel you need to. Nick and I love it just the way it is. You could easily add lots of goodies to it, including more small-chopped vegetables, crumbly cheese, fresh herbs, or nuts. I’ve prepared it simply here, without any add-ons except for a few small lettuce and arugula leaves. I didn’t include two of the spices only because I didn’t have them on hand. The dressing is still delightful. I like to keep a bowl of the lentils in the fridge to have on hand to scoop into green salads or have as a snack. There’s good reason the recipe is titled this way… it truly is the best lentil salad ever.
The Best Lentil Salad, Ever
recipe courtesy of: My New Roots
2 ¼ cups (1 lb.) Du Puy lentils
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup dried currants (you could also use raisins or other dried fruit–I used dried cranberries)
1/3 cup capers (I skipped these)
1/3 cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. strong mustard
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp ground cardamom (I skipped this)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. ground cloves (I skipped this)
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Walnuts or Pine Nuts
Feta or Goat Cheese
Fresh herbs: flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, basil
Chopped Red Pepper
1. Rinse lentils well, drain. Place in a pot and cover with a 3-4 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Check lentils for doneness after 15 minutes, but they should take about 20 minutes in total. You will know they are cooked if they still retain a slight tooth – al dente! Overcooking the lentils is the death of this dish. Be careful!
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.
3. Finely dice red onion – the salad is best if all the ingredients are about the same size. If using raisins, chop them roughly to make them a bit smaller, and do the same with the capers if they are large.
4. When the lentils are cooked, remove from heat, drain and place under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled slightly but still a little warm, place lentils in a large serving bowl and toss with dressing. Add other onion, capers, and currants. If using other add-ins such as herbs, greens, or cheese, wait until just before serving. Otherwise, this salad can hang out in the fridge for a couple days.
Serves 6-8 as a side.