I’m ready for fall – for soups and casseroles and hearty, filling salads. Like this lentil salad with grapes, walnuts and feta. It has a lot of flavor going on – loaded with earthy lentils, sweet grapes, crunchy walnuts and salty feta. This is a quick and easy salad to make that’s filling and packed with protein.
I used to have a hard time getting lentils right – they always seemed to be overcooked, lose their shape and become mushy. After some research, I realized 3 things. First, for lentil salads you need to buy french lentils. French lentils hold their shape better than ordinary brown lentils – so save the brown ones for soup. Second, cook your lentils for a slightly shorter amount of time than the package directions calls for. Start test them about 5 minutes before their allotted cooking time is up – this way you won’t overcook them by accident. You want your lentils to be al dente – not overly soft. Finally, once the lentils are cooked, pour them into a wire mesh sieve to strain off any left over liquid and then rinse them off with water until they are cool. This stops the cooking process and the lentils don’t become mushy and fall apart.
If you bring lunch to work this is an great recipe to add to your weekly lunch rotation. It’s easy to make, very filling and keeps in the fridge for a couple of days with no problem. This is a great salad to make that will cover two meals. Make this lentil salad with grapes, walnuts and feta for a Sunday dinner and then on Monday bring the lentil salad and some pita and hummus or bread and cheese and you’ve got a quick, easy work lunch.
A couple of notes:
The grapes really make this salad, so make sure that the grapes are sweet and not too tart.
As discussed above, start checking your lentils to see if they are done about 5 minutes before the package directions say they will be done. So if the package says 20 minutes – start checking at 15 to see if they are ready. Also, you want to stop the cooking process once the lentils are done – so strain your lentils and then rinse them in cold water. Both these steps will help eliminate any mushy, overly soft lentil problems.
Use French lentils since they hold their shape better than plain brown lentils. They are smaller and firmer than ordinary lentils and hold up well in salads.
|Lentil Salad with Grapes, Walnuts and Feta|| |
- 1 cup of French lentils
- 1 veggie bouillon cube
- Water – as per lentil package instructions
- 2 cups red seedless grapes – sliced in half
- 2 celery stalks – thinly sliced
- 2 tbs red onion – minced
- 2 tbs parlsey – minced
- 1 large handful of walnuts
- 2 oz of feta – diced
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove – put through a garlic press
- 1 tsp honey
- 6 twists of black pepper from a pepper mill
- A pinch of salt
- Cook lentils, with one veggie bouillon cube, according to package instructions.
- While the lentils are cooking, slice grapes in half, slice celery into thin half moons, mince onion, mince parlsey and dice feta.
- Make the dressing by whisking the olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, black pepper and salt together.
- When the lentils are ready, drain in a fine mesh sieve and rinse to cool under water. Drain the lentils well.
- Add lentils, grapes, celery, red onion, parsley and walnuts to a bowl. Toss with dressing. Add feta and gently toss to combine.