Build a Better Salad...with Lentils

by Melissa Trainer

Lentil, Kale and Baby Beet Green Salad

Lentil, Kale and Baby Beet Green Salad

Do you ever get tired of the same old salad? Do you ever want a more substantial salad that features more fiber and protein?

Well, that’s what I was craving over the weekend so I decided to create this quick Lentil, Kale and Baby Beet Green Salad. I had about two cups of French lentils that had been kicking around the pantry for too long so I decided to drag them out and just cook them. Because these lentils cook quickly and hold their shape, they are perfect for adding to big hearty salads featuring a motley collection of ingredients. I didn’t think too hard while crafting this dish. I just used what was around the kitchen and in my garden.

While the lentils cooked, which took about 15 minutes, I gathered a dozen or so cherry tomatoes and some baby kale and beet greens from the garden. About ten big basil leaves were plucked while I was headed back en route to the kitchen. The kale, beet greens, and basil were stacked and cut into strips. The tomatoes were sliced in half and a handful of pine nuts were toasted in a pan on the stove.

After draining and cooling the lentils ever so briefly, I tossed about one cup of cooked lentils into a big bowl and then added the greens, the tomatoes and the pine nuts. A balsamic mustard vinaigrette was made by stirring one tablespoon Dijon, one tablespoon balsamic vinegar and about 2 tablespoons olive oil and a tablespoon vegetable oil.  Part of the vinaigrette was drizzled over the lentil mixture and a few shavings of Parmesan were tossed into the collection.  A generous flourish of French sea salt and freshly ground pepper finished off the gig. In all, it was a great super healthy high fiber salad that hit the mark for me.  I have more vinaigrette and lentils sitting in the fridge, so maybe I’ll build an even better salad today…