Fresh and Vegan Mediterranean Lentil Salad

August 13, 2020

This Fresh and Vegan Mediterranean Lentil Salad is a light and healthy, veggie loaded side dish or a protein packed, plant based lunch!

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I will 100 percent admit that I’m pretty much done with summer.  With everything going on this year, I tried my best to enjoy the summer months, but I just can’t handle the heat and humidity anymore – and the mosquitoes, the crazy weather, and the constant fireworks that seem to go off around the neighborhood and drive Hunter (and me) crazy.  So I’m done. 

Well, almost done. 

As much as I’m craving crisp mornings and warm sweaters, I am still craving fresh veggies, light dishes, and being able to pick tomatoes, eggplant, onions, and peppers straight from our garden.  So while I’m hot and miserable (actually, not-so-miserable thanks to the constant blasting of our air conditioning), I still get to enjoy what’s left of our garden and make veggie loaded salads made with ingredients picked straight from our backyard! 

I’ve been meaning to make this salad for a while.  I had two baggies of green lentils just sitting our freezer.  But since our tomatoes have taken over our kitchen windowsill, we’ve seen a lot of Caprese salads cross our dining room table. Tomato salads only go so far, so I wanted to make a salad that would hold up throughout the week, would make a cool and quick side dish, and be easy to pack for my husband’s lunch.

My once picky husband is fairly new to lentils.  So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I put this salad on the dinner table.  I watched him gobble up the portion that he spooned onto his plate and ask for some for lunch the next day.  When I asked him if he liked it, he said, “It’s a good salad for hot summer days!”  And he’s been working a lot of them since he works outdoors.  I love a husband approved dish!

Fresh and Vegan Mediterranean Lentil Salad

 
If you’ve never cooked lentils before, the cooking process is kind of like cooking rice.  Like rice, I cooked the lentils in vegetable broth to infuse a little more flavor.  The broth comes to a boil before adding the lentils in.  Then, it’s dropped down to a simmer for about 20 minutes.  The lentils will absorb some of the liquid, but you will have to drain them.  To make a cold salad, like this one, cool them under cold water and set aside.

Remember those summer veggies I was talking about?  Well, we had picked a bunch of cherry tomatoes and some onions from our garden.  Plus, I had some ingredients to use up in the fridge.  So I chopped everything up, combined it with the lentils, and made a simple dressing from lemon, balsamic vinegar, salt and vinegar, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and some fresh oregano that was growing in our herb box. 

The result is a protein packed salad made with fresh ingredients, that just so happens to be vegan, too.  And although the salad is light, it’s still completely filling and will leave you satisfied.   

Fresh and Vegan Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Fresh and Vegan Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Ingredients

    For the dressing:
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: crushed red pepper flakes
  • For the lentil salad:
  • 1 1/2 cups dry green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups zucchini, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

Instructions

    For the dressing:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, balsamic, oregano, salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper. Set aside.
  2. For the lentil salad:
  3. Bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Then, add the lentils.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until softened.
  5. Drain lentils and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
  6. Add the onion, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and olives to a large bowl. Stir in the lentils.
  7. Pour dressing over the salad and stir to combine.
  8. Serve salad immediately or chill in the fridge.
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It always amazes me how simple ingredients can end up being a really delicious dish. And this salad is no exception!  It’s a flavorful and refreshing salad that really is perfect for hot summer days! 

Did you make this Fresh and Vegan Mediterranean Lentil Salad recipe? Share it on social media using the hashtag #livinglavidaeats. Don’t forget to tag me @lavidaholoka!

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