Rediscover a love and appreciation for lentils with this recipe. A great vegetarian and vegan meal, this healthy lentil salad with arugula is packed with nutrients; lentils are cooked in flavorful vegetable stock before adding in fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and arugula. Mixed with a simple vinaigrette and topped with slivered almonds and dried cranberries, this salad is filling and nutritious on its own, or easily paired with a protein of choice. This salad makes four generous two-cup portions. Store in the fridge for days for an easy to grab meal for meal prep, with no heating required.
All about lentils and why I use them here
Truth be told, I was never the biggest fan of lentils; but I think it’s because I only had them in lentil soup. To me, they always tasted murky and heavy; but in this salad, it’s quite the opposite. This salad helped me rediscover lentils and use them in a more bright and refreshing way, a delicious salad with some of my favorite ingredients: tomato, cucumber, red onion, and arugula. Together, each bite is a flavor bomb and is a joy to eat!
Lentils are a legume, and have one of the largest amounts of protein found in a plant. They are also high in nutrients including iron, making it a popular choice in many vegetarian diets. Because of these attributes, I feel great about eating this dish. Not only does it taste great, but it’s great for you too.
Lentils can be cooked in water, but here I used vegetable broth to add more flavor to them before adding the other ingredients. This is a tip I use whenever I cook grains like farro or quinoa also; use a flavorful cooking broth so that they have a base flavor. It only helps!
The ratio I used to cook the lentils for this recipe is 1:3, meaning 1 cup of dry, uncooked lentils, to 3 cups of broth. I simply added the lentils to a saucepan with the broth, brought it to a boil, and then reduce to simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
What else will I need to make this dish besides lentils?
Aside from lentils, you will need the following ingredients:
- vegetable broth
- This is used to cook the lentils and give them great flavor before adding the other ingredients.
- If you don’t require this meal to be vegetarian, you can use chicken broth instead.
- cherry tomatoes
- English cucumber
- I like using English cucumbers because you don’t have to peel them; just simply chop!
- red onion
- sliced almonds
- dried cranberries
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- dried oregano
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- fresh basil
How to make this healthy lentil salad with arugula
The only cooking involved here is cooking the actual lentils, so this recipe is so easy to put together. To cook the lentils, start by rinsing them with cold water. Next, add the lentils and chicken broth to a small saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer, and cook covered foe 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and to your liking. If there is extra broth left in the saucepan, drain it off and set the lentils to the side.
In the meantime, prepare the vegetables: half the cherry tomatoes, dice the red onions, and chop the cucumbers (if you are using English cucumbers, no need to peel them).
Grab a large mixing bowl, and add the chopped vegetables, and add the cooked lentils. In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, and salt. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and lentils. Mix together. Then, add the arugula, cranberries, sliced almonds, and basil and toss again.
Healthy Lentil Salad with Arugula
- small saucepan
- mixing bowl
- 1 cup lentils uncooked, dry
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved, equivalent to 1 pint
- 2 cups English cucumber chopped, skin on, equivalent to 1 large cucumber
- 1/2 cup red onion chopped
- 4 cups arugula
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 2 tbsp fresh basil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- Rinse the lentils with cold water.
- Add the lentils to a small saucepan with the vegetable broth, and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce to medium-low simmer and cover the pot with a lid.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
- If there is excess liquid, drain the lentils (do not rinse them). Set aside.
- Half the cherry tomatoes, chop the cucumber, and dice the red onion.
- Add the vegetables to a large mixing bowl with the cooked lentils.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and lentils and toss to coat.
- Add the arugula, slivered almonds, cranberries, and basil, and toss again.
- Taste for seasoning; add salt and pepper as desired.
- 3 WW points
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