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Ah, the mighty lentil. So little credit given, so much deserved.
A nutrient powerhouse, lentils offer an excellent source of fiber and plant-based protein along with vitamins and minerals. All that aside, they also lend themselves well to virtually any palette of flavors. Go Middle-Eastern with cumin and lemon zest. Try Tex-Mex with cilantro, lime, and corn. The variations on lentil salads, soups, and stir-fries are endless.
I’m a lentil-lover through and through. Although I’ll be honest here and admit that I don’t usually cook my beans from scratch (time is not on my side these days!), I can usually manage to simmer a pot of lentils for 30-40 minutes most days. Because they do not require soaking, lentils are an easy go-to protein source and pair perfectly with a vast range of vegetables, herbs, and spices.
I had meant to get this recipe posted before New Year’s, believe it or not. Lentils, because they look like tiny coins, are said to be a symbol of good luck and fortune. In many countries, lentils are served on New Year’s Eve as a way of ushering in a prosperous New Year.
So what if I’m a month late? I’ll take a dose of good fortune (along with good fiber) any old time.
Lentil Salad with Mint and Currants
Serves 4 as a side
1 cup French green lentils (also called De Puy lentils), rinsed and drained
1 cinnamon stick
2 stalks celery, peeled and finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
¼ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup dried currants
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- In a medium pot, cover lentils and cinnamon stick with 3-4 cups water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until lentils are just tender to bite but not falling apart, 30-35 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Add celery, tomatoes, onion, parsley, currants, and mint to the bowl with the lentils. Stir to combine. In a small bowl whisk together the cumin, granulated garlic, coriander, olive oil, and vinegar. Pour over salad and toss to coat evenly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve salad at room temperature.
More lentil-licious recipes for all you legume-lovers:
- Curried Rice and Lentils from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
- Soothing Red Lentil Soup from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
- Eggplant Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses from Simply Recipes
Looking for more dead-of-winter recipe inspiration? Check out Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.