Now that picnic season is among us, you’ll be the talk of the park when you show up with this jazzed up lentil salad. It’s a one-bowl, wellness meal full of heart-healthy fiber, plant-based protein, and longevity-boosting antioxidants.
I’m on a mission to destroy any bad reputation attached to lentils. They are one of my absolute favorite foods, with 13 grams of protein and one quarter of your daily fiber needs per serving. They are rich in iron, folate, and minerals like copper, phosphorus, and manganese.
Protein that helps regulate blood sugar, promote heart health, and boost energy? That’s what I call PLANT POWER!
While there’s nothing fun at all about plain lentils, they are fabulous sponges, and soak up whatever flavors you decide to dress them up with. The flavor combination in this lentil salad always make me smile. The orange, parsley, and dill bring sunny cheer, and the radicchio, fennel, and walnuts provide the tantalizing crunch-factor. If you’re in the mood, add some feta or goat’s cheese for a little extra tang, but it definitely doesn’t need it if you’re dairy-free.
This dish is a perfect make-it-the-night-before salad since the flavors only get better as they have a chance to meld together. It stores well in an air-tight container for up to five days. You may have to drain out a little of the liquid that accumulates, but save it! It makes a fabulous impromptu dressing for an arugula salad.
Lentil Salad with Radicchio, Fennel, Oranges, and Toasted walnuts
Yield: 4 servings
1 cup dried French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 head radicchio, cored and chopped
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 orange, supremed and chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh dill, minced
¼ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
- Place rinsed lentils and ¼ teaspoon salt in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook about 25 minutes, or until just tender. Drain lentils and put in a medium-sized bowl.
- Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss the lentils with the dressing and set aside to marinate while preparing the remaining ingredients.
- When the lentils have cooled, add the radicchio, fennel, orange, parsley, and dill to the lentils, tossing to combine. Top with toasted walnuts to serve.