Amidst our permitted trips to the market right now, I’m trying to get a bit creative with what’s already in the cupboards to keep us fed, healthy, and happy! Lentils are no surprise here – these legumes last forever, don’t they? – but this warm lentil salad will give you a new appreciation for the pantry staple!
Lentils were something we didn’t eat much of growing up. And I honestly don’t remember when I first discovered and fell in love with them. I know the first recipe I made was this one pot lentil soup, which was about ten years ago when we were living in Oakland.
If you get a bargain this week (or if you have enough to feed an army already), you absolutely have to make that soup and then this warm lentil salad…
Warm Lentil Salad
I love the simplicity of this warm lentil salad. While the lentils are simmering on your stovetop, prep the veggies and then roast them in the oven. Combine it all together with some great olive oil and seasonings! And you have yourself a delicious salad and side dish.
And on the topic of leftovers (because for once we’re all hoping for leftovers to make it through, right?)… this salad could be used a few different ways…
It’d be delicious warmed in tacos (especially with eggs for breakfast tacos). You could even add roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes – talk about a major meal (morning or night).
It’d also be great as a salad topping. It’s kind of weird to think that salad leftovers would be good atop another salad, but it’s delicious. Lentils are great as an added source of fiber and protein in pretty much any dish you can imagine!!
Do You Need to Rinse Lentils?
So the jury seems to be divided on whether or not to rinse lentils. The reason for rinsing beans is usually to wash off any dirt and rinse away sulfur (what causes gas). Lentils don’t contain sulfur, so you should be good on that front (look, a science lesson to boot!).
You SHOULD, however, give your lentils the once over (with or without a rinse) to look for any shriveled or dark beans and small rocks. There’s nothing unsafe about any of this, just not enjoyable to crunch down on while you’re eating.
WARM LENTIL SALAD
Pantry and kitchen basics can seem so ho-hum, but when prepared properly, they can be drool-worthy! This warm lentil salad is mixed with easy roasted onions and peppers for a perfect salad and side dish. You can also use it in a tortilla for tacos or atop a salad for protein and crunch!
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf, garlic clove, or other seasoning
- 1/4-3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large red bell pepper cored and sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion peeled and sliced
- 2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ½ cups cooked lentils still warm
- Fine sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- Flaked smoked sea salt
Combine lentils, water, and seasoning in small saucepan over medium-high heat.
Bring lentils to a rapid simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer uncovered 20-30 minutes, maintaining water level just covering beans.
Lentils are done when they are soft but not mushy. Strain lentils and seasoning. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and add until desired flavor is reached.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Spread the red pepper and onion slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of fine sea salt and black pepper. Toss to coat and spread back into a single layer.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables soften and edges begin to brown slightly.
Add the lentils to a large bowl. Drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the roasted vegetables. Toss to mix well. Season with about ¼ teaspoon flaked smoked sea salt and a pinch of black pepper, or more to taste. Serve warm.