I was asked to participate in the #LoveALentil #LetsLentil campaign, sponsored by
Lentils.org. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.
It’s salad season! At least that’s what I consider summertime to be, don’t you? My method of salad building is literally throwing together whatever veggies (and sometimes fruit) that I have on hand until what I’ve come up with seems sufficient. In case you’re wondering, I have the same method for smoothies too, haha!
There’s really so many ways to build a salad, why not experiment with different additions than the traditional leafy salad. I also love to add a little something unexpected to a good salad, like a mixture of kidney beans and garbanzo beans along with with some freshly cooked split red lentils. Pairing that with crispy shredded lettuce and other colorful ingredients creates a fun and tasty fresh lentil bean salad that’s so perfect for summer.
Not familiar with split red lentils? These lentils have their shell removed and the inner part of the lentil has been literally split in half. They cook much faster than traditional lentils due to their small size, and they’re perfect to add to salads like this one. I like to cook mine in a chicken or vegetable broth and a pinch or two of herbs and flavor.
Lentils are great additions for quicker recipes like this because they cook up so fast. They don’t require pre-soaking so they can be prepared while cutting or peeling the other ingredients. They’re also high in protein as well as fiber, and a great source of minerals such as potassium, iron and folate.
Now most people consider lentils to be a colder weather ingredient used in soups and stews, which they are absolutely wonderful for. However, I think they’re great for something like stuffed peppers with rice, adding to scrambled eggs, or in a nice crunchy lentil bean salad like this one.
Before preparing the lentils I soaked the red cabbage in a mixed vinegar concoction with a bit of seasoning and let it sit. The addition of crisp cucumbers and sweet, crunchy yellow bell pepper balanced out the flavors already. Then adding the creaminess of the avocados along with the kidney beans and garbanzo beans this salad is full of texture as well as protein rich! Adding the olives and grape tomatoes adds a kick of color too.
What I really love is the addition of the cooked red split red lentils and how the cooked in flavor combines with this salad. This isn’t a leafy salad soaked in creamy dressing, it’s fresh and full of texture and so much flavor, combined with many healthy benefits. I just added a few more ingredients together for a super simple dressing that really complemented the flavors already provided to really finish off this tasty salad.
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1½ tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup split red lentils
- 1½ cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dry garlic flakes
- ½ medium yellow bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- ½ cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- ½ cup black olives with seed removed, halved lengthwise
- ½ a medium cucumber, sliced then quartered
- 1 avocado, peel and seed removed, diced
- ½ cup canned low sodium kidney beans, rinsed thoroughly then patted dry
- ½ cup canned low sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed thoroughly then patted dry
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice from 1 medium lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
- ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Begin by shredding the cabbage. You can do this by using a sharp, serrated knife and cutting a large slice off one end of the cabbage. On the open end of the cabbage, graze the sharp knife up the side a few times to get shredded pieces of cabbage.
- Place the shredded cabbage in a medium bowl, then top with the rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, and the salt and pepper. Mix until combined, then set aside.
- In a small sauce pan add the rinsed split red lentils with low sodium chicken stock. Bring just to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Add the basil and dried garlic then allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes. If you like the lentils firmer, don't allow to cook as long so they will maintain their shape. Stir every so often and remove from heat when done. Allow to cool.
- In a serving bowl add the cabbage, bell pepper, tomatoes, olives, cucumber, and avocado.
- Top with the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and ¼ to ½ cup of the prepared lentils. Garnish with cilantro.
- Mix the ingredients for the simple salad dressing and pour on top before mixing the salad together then serving.
How do you like your salads?
For more recipe inspiration using lentils be sure to head over to lentils.org
Also, if you love this recipe don’t forget to PIN it to your favorite board on Pinterest!
(Just hover over the picture below and click “Pin it”)
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lentils.org. The opinions and text are all mine.