Lucky Lentils Salad

Lucky Lentil SaladFor those of you who joined us for Noelle’s Resolution Flow on New Year’s Day, then you already have a craving for this salad. And I know you do because most of you from the class have asked me (more than once, sorry!) for this recipe. I chose to make the lentils salad for our New Year treat because: 1) In Italy, lentils are believed to bring luck when eaten on New Year’s Day and 2) I don’t know about you but I was sweeted-out after the holidays and craved nourishment and to me, that sounded best served up in a bowl of flavorful lentils. So, here it is – the Lucky Lentils Salad. I’ve tried to keep it easy to prep and given some tricks to make it even easier to make and enjoy. At the end, I give a couple suggestions on how to serve it. But, after you make it, make sure to share with me how you served it up!


 

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups dried lentils or 2 packages cooked lentils
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
  • 3 large carrots, chopped into coin shape
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground clove
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Cooking Instructions:

To Make the Lentils:

  1. I love lentils so I tend to keep stocked with dried lentils and cooked lentils. Either option will work here. If you’re going to boil your lentils, follow package instructions but add in the two whole garlic cloves so they boil while you cook the lentils. Just make sure to watch your lentils carefully so as not to overcook them for this recipe, they need to keep their firmness. They should take 15-20 mins in simmering water. Once cooked, drain and rinse briefly in cool water then add them to your bowl of vinaigrette (which you’ll make while they boil). The warmth of the lentils helps them absorb the vinaigrette flavors.
  2. -OR- If the package route sounds better, you can find cooked lentils in the produce section at Trader Joe’s or Mothers. Just open two packages, rinse and add to your bowl, then get working on the vinaigrette!
  3. Once the lentils are underway, dice the shallots, chop the cilantro and slice your carrot coins.
    • Here’s a trick with the carrots – I run them through my food processor to get nice, thin, coin-shaped carrot pieces. You can do the same or chop them by hand (good for you!). But if you’re thinking, “Marisa, this was all sounding easy until you said coin-shaped carrots…” then let me make it easy again. A bag of shredded carrots will work just as wonderfully in this recipe. Skip the coins, add the shreds, no one will ever know the difference and I won’t tell!

To Make the Vinaigrette:

  1. In a large bowl, add in all of the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk together to combine.
  2. Add in the diced shallot and stir to coat evenly with the vinaigrette.
  3. Now add in the lentils. Whether warm or room temperature, cooked by you or precooked, they’ll blend in great. Toss the lentils with the vinaigrette.
  4. Then add in the dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, chopped cilantro and carrot coins.
  5. Stir all to combine.
  6. I find this recipe is best served at least a few hours after it is made so the flavors will have a little chance to dance together and marinate. It’s also wonderful made a day-ahead and then left to chill in the fridge. But, if you want to make it and then dive right in, you’ll enjoy it just as much.

 

To Serve:

For New Year’s Day, I served this treat after Noelle’s Resolution Flow class and topped it with a few veggie chips to add crunch. Another trick of mine is to serve this over a bed of spinach – add your protein of choice and it makes a lovely meal. In your lunch bag the next day is also yummy. You can really do what you want with it – it’s all delicious.