Monday, April 29, 2013

Spiced Lentil Salad for a Crowd

Spiced Lentil Salad for a Crowd

This recipe comes to you from My New Roots, the same blog where I found the Life Changing Loaf of Bread.  I found it looking for a make-ahead recipe that would be good for lunches throughout the week.  I was a bit skeptical, because for some reason I have it in my head that I don't like lentils (even though there are multiple recipes I like with lentils), but the fact that it was called the best lentil salad ever and had numerous positive reviews made me give it a try.  The result was a hearty and delicious lentil salad that I'm looking forward to having for many future lunches!

Green lentils, raisins, red onion, and chopped green olives are mixed with a spiced dressing.  Carrots, celery, walnuts and goat cheese are added for some extra flavor and crunch.  The list of spices in the dressing is LONG, but it makes for an interesting and tasty flavor.  As I was adding the vegetables at the end, I couldn't stop tasting this salad because it has such a different combination of flavors!  There's cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves, but also cumin/turmeric/cayenne.  I don't really know how to describe the taste, but I really liked it.  You could definitely vary the add-ins (walnuts, goat cheese, celery, and carrots).  I really liked the creaminess of the goat cheese and the crunch of the celery and carrots, but other vegetables would likely work well also.

This lentil salad is anything but boring.  It makes a LOT (feel free to halve the recipe!) and only gets better after a day or two, so it's great to make ahead for a potluck.  I think this would also be great on top of mixed greens for a hearty salad.

Spiced Lentil Salad for a Crowd

Spiced Lentil Salad for a Crowd

serves: 12+ as a side dish

  • 1 pound small green lentils
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard (or other strong mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ceylon cinnamon (or 1/2 teaspoon regular cinnamon)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup raisins, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup green olives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped 
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, roughly chopped (plus more for the top if desired) 
  • 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 medium stalks of celery, finely chopped


1) Rinse and drain lentils.  Place in a pot and cover with at least 4 inches of water.  Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked but not mushy.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.  Set aside.

2)  Meanwhile, to make dressing, whisk together apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, and nine spices (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl.

3) Once lentils are done, place in a large bowl.  Pour dressing over top and mix to combine.  Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.

4)  Store in the refrigerator.  This salad should last for about 5 days.

(recipe adapted from My New Roots)

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