An Easy, Delicious, Mediterranean Red Lentil salad recipe. Packed full of red lentils, toothsome chickpeas, coated in a dressing of warming spices and tangy lemon. Quick, healthy, vegan, AND yummy?! Yep! This lentil salad recipe indeed does it all.
Mediterranean Red Lentil Salad
Beauty is In The Eye-of-the-Beholder.
Let's be honest; this red lentil salad doesn't exactly win any awards for being the most beautiful looking meal on earth. But, oh man, is it good. This cinnamon-spiked, broth-laden vegan Mediterranean Red Lentil Salad is so more than meets the eye. It's budget-friendly, packed with nutrition, and so, so delicious.
No bland lentils found here. This salad was created to convince you to start using red lentils for everything and *hopefully* even start loving them as much as I do.
What Makes this Mediterranean Red Lentil Salad so Tasty:
The key to making this red lentil salad so tasty is the flavorful vegetable broth. The higher-quality your broth is, the more flavour-packed your lentils will be. You can choose to use vegetable or chicken broth since both will result in a very savoury and hearty salad.
Since this is a salad recipe, I didn't stop at the lentils + broth. I also flavoured this salad generously with:
- Green Onions
- Fresh Garlic
- Fresh Mint
- Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice
- Allspice & Cinnamon
- Apricots & Pistachios
Do You have to Use Red lentils for this recipe?
As you may know, lentils come in a rainbow of colours and types! There are green lentils, brown lentils, black lentils, brown, yellow lentils, red lentils and more! I love them all, but they tend to behave a bit differently when cooked—some take longer to cook than others, some hold their shape as they cook, whereas others turn to mush.
For this particular recipe, we are using red lentils despite their mushy texture.
Why would I choose these lentils? The simple answer is they taste good, they're easy to find, and it's a surprising yet delicious texture for this salad. However, you could also use French lentils, brown lentils, or green lentils if that's what you have on-hand.
This salad is very versatile, so don't be afraid to explore the individual qualities of lentils and mix things up!
Health facts of Lentils
In General, lentils are packed full of nutrition and healthy, hearty powerhouse. Here's why lentils are so good for you:
- Eating lentils may help to lower cholesterol, and that means a lower risk for heart disease!
- High in insoluble fibre, lentils take a long time to digest. Hello! Stabilized blood sugar and good digestion health.
- Lentils are an excellent vegan source of protein! And we all know how important protein is; 26% of the calories in lentils come from protein. This is why lentils should be a main dish or a part of your "Meatless Monday" meal plan.
- They're also a great source of iron, which is important since most North Americans are low in iron.
Do You Have to Soak Lentils Before Cooking Them?
Unlike dried beans, dried lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking! In fact, some people say you don't even need to rinse them. However, I'm not one of those people, so please, WASH your lentils. Thanks to their quick preparation, they're ideal for the busy family. Their variety and ease of use are the best things about cooking with lentils.
Tips for the Mediterranean Red Lentil Salad
- Swap green or brown lentils for the red lentil. This recipe works great if you don't want to use red lentils, plus it'll give the recipe a whole new texture with the same great taste.
- Pistachios are optional. If you can't eat nuts or pistachios aren't in your pantry, you can easily swap for seeds like pumpkin and sunflower or choose a different kind of nut. Where just looking to satisfy a crunchy texture layer for the salad.
How to Store this Salad
- 3-4 days in an air-tight container
- Keep the spinach and lentils separate during storage
- Reheat before serving lentils: this recipe is best served at room temperature or slightly warm.
Other Meal Worthy Mediterranean Salads to Try
With Fall in Full-Swing, I Hope you Fall in Love with Lentils.
Mediterranean Red Lentil Salad
Lentil salad base:
- 2½ cup vegetable stock
- 1½ cup red lentils washed
- 1 clove garlic diced
- 1 cup chickpeas cooked
- 2 green onion thinly sliced
- ⅛ cup fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- ½ teaspoon allspice ground
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon ground
- 1 small garlic clove mashed
- Baby Spinach
- Dried Apricots sliced
- Pistachios coarsely chopped
Lentil Salad Base:
- In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring broth, lentils, and garlic to a boil: reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add the chickpeas and cook for 3-5 minutes. It's important not to overcook the lentils, or they'll fall apart. Before the lentils have fully cooked, remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, add the green onions. Stir gently.
- Cover the bowl with a lid and continue with the making the dressing. The lentils will finish cooking from the residual heat.
- Add all of the ingredients into a small jar with a lid. Seal the lid, and shake all the ingredients together.
- Remove the lid from the lentils and pour the dressing onto the lentils. Mix. Let the salad sit for 10 minutes.
- Arrange the baby spinach into a shallow bowl.
- Spoon the lentil mixture onto the salad.
- Top with apricots and pistachios.
- Serve at room temperature.