Hearty and substantial, this black lentil salad can be also be made with brown or green lentils, and is beautiful and festive now matter what kind you use.
To make any lentil dish — warm or cold — try using black lentils, aka beluga lentils. These diminutive, gleaming black lentils contrast beautifully with red, orange, and green veggies.
What’s nice about black lentils is that they retain their shape more tenaciously than brown or green lentils (and certainly more than red lentils, which are made to get mushy). Their texture, even when done, is always a bit more al dente. There’s a lot to love about black lentils, so learn more!
All that being said, feel free to substitute and equal amount of brown or green lentils. The salad might not be quite as gorgeous, but it will still be plenty pretty and will taste just as good.
Canned black (or other) lentils: Is it okay to use canned lentils in the recipe rather than cooking from scratch? Yes, of course. You’ll need two 15-ounce cans, which you’ll want to drain and rinse well.
Cooking lentils of any kind is easy. They don’t need to be pre-soaked. Rinse them well, then combine in a saucepan with water in a 3 to 1 ratio.
Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently until just tender, which usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, depending on variety. Watch them closely at the end of cooking time.
Remember, lentils don’t have to absorb all the water like grains do, so chances are that there will be a little water to drain off once done. One cup dry lentils makes about 2 1/2 cups cooked.
Serving suggestions: A a main dish salad, simply serve with a crusty bread. For a more substantial meal, pair with a simple soup. A creamy green soup goes well with this salad — try Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup.
- 1 1/4 cups raw black lentils (brown or green lentils may be substituted), or two 15-ounce cans
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 scallion, green parts only, thinly sliced, or 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 1/2 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, or half of each, diced small
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley, more or less to taste
- 1 cup Kalamata or other black olives (leave whole or use pitted, chopped)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, as desired
- 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- If using raw black lentils, rinse them well. Combine with 4 cups water in a roomy saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently until just tender, about 20. Watch them closely at the end of cooking time. If using raw brown or green lentils, they usually take a bit longer to cook, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Drain excess cooking water from lentils and rinse gently in a colander until they stop steaming. Allow to cool until at room temperature. If using canned lentils, simply drain and rinse them.
- Combine the lentils with the remaining ingredients in a serving bowl. Toss gently and thoroughly.
- If time allows, let the salad stand for a half hour or so at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend. Otherwise, serve at once.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 187Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 5g
Nutrition data is always an estimate depending on program used to calculate and exact products used. This is given for informational purposes only and accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
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Photos of black lentil salad: Anna Pustynnikova/Bigstock