This may not be the sweet treat you are accustomed to getting from us, but this lentil salad has a sugary element to satisfy that sweet tooth. In addition to being delicious, lentils provide fiber, plant protein, polyphenols (a type of antioxidant), and folate; are low in sodium and saturated fats; and are high in potassium. This salad is packed with carrots, golden raisins, walnuts, and red peppers. 

A little fun fact about lentils is that the botanical name of the lentil plant is Lens culinaris, which is because of the curved lens-like shape of the lentil seed.

Lentils for summer!

Summer officially kicks off at the end of May. This salad is perfect to bring to your Memorial Day picnic, pack it in a cooler for the beach, or make it early for Mother’s Day, which is Sunday the 14th. What mom wouldn’t love a healthy salad for lunch or dinner!

Olivia first had a salad similar to this while visiting Martha’s Vineyard. Whenever she and her honey are on the island, they stop at a little cafe in Vineyard Haven. The cafe has a very small menu, but everything is homemade and super yummy. They also serve up some of the biggest, most delicious slices of cake. We’re talking cake that could be shared by two or more! But, the one item on the menu that they always order is the lentil salad. Healthy lentil salad for lunch and a big slice of cake to wash it down. That’s what they call balance. 

While enjoying a meal at the little cafe sitting at one of their picnic tables, Olivia’s honey asked if it was possible that we could recreate this salad at home. This is her version with inspiration from the vineyard. We hope you enjoy it.

Lentil salad ingredients

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup finely chopped red pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped  walnuts
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 4-5 sliced scallions
  • ¼ fresh chopped parsley 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Feta cheese (optional, but we think it is a must to sprinkle on top) 

Maple syrup dressing ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbs pure maple syrup
  • ½ tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a medium saucepan add 3 cups of vegetable broth or water and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of rinsed and drained lentils to the broth. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes depending on desired firmness. While the lentils are cooking, dice the carrots, red pepper, walnuts, garlic, scallions and chop the parsley; set aside. Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients into a blender or mini food processor. If you don’t have either, place all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well; set aside.

Drain lentils and allow to cool. Once cool, add the diced vegetables, raisins, walnuts and chopped parsley to a medium bowl, and stir to combine. Pour about a ½ cup of the dressing onto the lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese. Add more dressing to your liking or upon serving.

Cover and let chill for a bit in the refrigerator before serving to allow the ingredients to meld. You can either enjoy the salad on its own or serve it over a bed of mixed greens. Enjoy and here’s to summer! •

Olivia and Caroline are enthusiastic foodies and bakers who are constantly in the kitchen, as well as explorers who create their own adventures in our area – and did we mention they are mother and daughter? Follow Olivia on Instagram to see her many creations at @oliviawvalentine.