Meatless Monday/On The Side: Lentil Salad

The biggest problem I have with eating salads for dinner, particularly on Meatless Monday, is the lack of protein. Chicken and shrimp are nice, but it seems like a lot of work to cook a piece of chicken specifically to top a salad. I have given tofu the ol’ college try, but it just doesn’t work for me. So, my meat-free salads (and soups and stews) tend to incorporate a lot of beans. But, while I love them, beans can get repetitive after a while.

Lentils are awesome and this fact cannot be denied. They make for great soups, stews, sides and, yes, salads. They are dirt cheap, easy to prepare and readily available. In this salad, they provide a nutritionally-rich base full of protein, riboflavin and other goodness.

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WHAT WORKED: Goat cheese. I love goat cheese. Here, it binds things together so wonderfully and spikes the salad with that trademark earthy flavor and creamy texture.

WHAT DIDN’T: I got a little crazy with the dill and didn’t do such a great job of chopping it finely.

EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy.

BEST FOR: Meatless Monday or when you want to change up your side dishes.

SERVE WITH: More goat cheese!

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Lentil Salad with Tomato, Dill and Goat Cheese
  • 1 cup dried lentils (brown or pink/red)
  • 2 garlic cloves, one chopped and one minced
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 3/4 lb. tomatoes, chopped coarsely
  • 4 large scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup chevre crumbles

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the lentils, chopped garlic, and two-fingered pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain through a fine-mesh strainer and let water drip from them.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, minced garlic, a pinch of salt and twist or two of a black pepper grinder.

Toss the lentils with tomatoes, scallions, and dill. Add the chevre and toss with vinaigrette. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

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