This balsamic lentil salad recipe is super easy and quick to make. When I'm having lunch on my own, this is one of my go to recipes, as it is so easy to make for one. It uses ingredients that I always have on hand, tastes delicious and is very wholesome. The earthy flavour of the lentils is perfectly complemented by the sweetness of the carrot, the freshness of the greens and the punchy balsamic dressing. It's also a great balance of protein, and healthy carbs and fats which will keep you full for the afternoon.
Best lentils to use in salad
For this recipe, you'll need brown or green lentils (cooked red lentils are too mushy). You can use a can or packet of cooked lentils. However, if you enjoy lentils, I'd really recommend cooking up a batch, and freezing them in small pots for convenience. Lentils are very easy to cook, and don't need soaking. Simply give them a quick rinse, and place in a pan with approximately 3 times the volume of water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until tender. Drain, and once the lentils are cool, freeze in individual portions.
Health benefits of lentils
Lentils are an excellent vegan source of protein, and packed with iron and folate. They are also very rich in B vitamins, zinc, magnesium and potassium. They are low fat, but extremely high in fibre which can benefit your gut health and help to lower blood sugar levels. This article contains more information about the health benefits of lentils. And if you are interested in ideas and tips for including more fibre in your diet, take a look at the post how to eat more fibre.
Recipe tips for balsamic lentil salad
- Mix the dressing directly in the serving bowl. That way you'll have less washing up!
- Any salad greens will work in this recipe. I used a mix of red and green lettuce, with some leaf beet and sorrel. Spinach would also be lovely, and if you have some herbs, basil or parsley would work well
- If you've got other salad ingredients to hand, feel free to add them in. You could try red pepper, cherry tomatoes, mange tout or cucumber. Avocado also works very well with this combination of ingredients
- If you are feeling extra hungry, add some more protein. This salad goes perfectly with eggs, either poached or hard boiled
- This balsamic lentil salad is perfect served on its own for lunch. But you might also want to have it as an accompaniment to dinner. Try serving it alongside chicken (see here for a quick spatchcock chicken recipe), salmon or these mini cheese and onion quiches
If you are interested in healthy cooking for one, there's lots of useful tips in this post.
Balsamic Lentil Salad
- 1 tablespoon balsamic oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 120 g cooked green or brown lentils
- large handful of salad greens eg lettuce, spinach, leaf beet, herbs
- 1 medium carrot grated
- Add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasoning to a serving bowl and mix well.
- Add the remaining ingredients and toss until well mixed. Enjoy!