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Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Mediterranean Lentil Salad


Mediterranean Lentil Salad is a healthy, protein-packed, veggie-rich grain salad, mixed with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette.   There are so many delicious flavors at play here, with red onions, garlic, parsley and, of course, the balsamic vinaigrette.  This easy recipe is a great base recipe with lots of flexibility to customize it to your preference.  You could add spinach, change up the amounts of tomatoes, onions, etc.  Mediterranean Lentil Salad can also be vegan by simply omitting the feta cheese.

I really like using lentils because they are such a great source of lean protein and high fiber and iron too.  Per the bag I used, there are 12 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber…all with zero fat.   I find lentils to be a great meat substitute in recipes, such as tacos.  In fact, I am putting the final tweaks on a lentil taco recipe to share with you soon!

Mediterranean Lentil Salad
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped red onion, plus 1 1-inch thick slice (for cooking water)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus 3 parsley sprigs (for cooking water)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 cup halved cherry (or grape) tomatoes
  • ½ cup diced cucumber
  • ½ cup feta cheese, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the balsamic vinaigrette:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Instructions
  1. COOK LENTILS: Add 2½ cups of water to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add onion, parsley sprigs and minced garlic and bring to a boil. Stir in lentils, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered until lentils are tender (about 20-25 minutes). Drain and discard onion and parsley.
  2. MAKE VINAIGRETTE: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, water, vinegar, mustard and garlic until combined. Pour into a sauce pan (I just used the same pan used to cook the lentils) and heat on low until just warmed (do not boil).
  3. ASSEMBLE: Place warm lentils in a serving bowl. Add cucumber, tomatoes, chopped parsley, ¼ cup feta and warm vinaigrette and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup feta and serve.

It’s my favorite time of month again…the Eating with the Alphabet Challenge hosted by Brenda from Meal Planning Magic!  This month we were to showcase a recipe using a fruit, vegetable or grain that begin with the letters K or L.  Lentils are the first that came to mind, and I had so much fun trying different, healthy recipes with them.  If you’re a blogger, why not join us!  It’s fun to come up with new, healthy recipes as well as see what other bloggers decide to make.   Brenda has more information and sign up details here.