This marinated warm lentil salad is lemony, herby, and garlicky with Mediterranean vibes.
When it comes to legumes, for some reason lentils seem to have eluded me almost entirely. Beans and chickpeas seem somehow simpler to incorporate into everyday meals, no? Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up eating them. In any case, this warm lentil salad is a game-changer in my book.
This marinated green lentil salad has an insane amount of flavor in every bite. The lentils themselves, having been cooked in vegetable broth, are super savory. The balsamic-glazed shallots are sweet, while the capers provide balance with their tangy, salty flavor. The lemon dressing perfumes the whole thing with garlic, and parsley adds freshness.
It’s an absolutely delicious – and dare I say, fancy enough for guests? – vegan recipe to get us all on the lentil bandwagon. Let’s jump in…
First off, lentils are very good for you. They’re sustainable, inexpensive, and packed with essential minerals, like iron, magnesium, zinc, and folate. They’re rich in fiber, and 1 cup of cooked lentils has over 17 grams of protein (i.e. as much as a serving of salmon). They also contain polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A total win-win-win.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Lentils: I developed this recipe for green lentils, which can be found in any supermarket; you can also use French lentils. Don’t use red lentils here since they get mushy.
- Veg Broth: Use low-sodium broth if possible. Or Yondu diluted with water, if you have it.
- Shallots: Feel free to sub with red onions instead. You’d probably need 2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons.
- Capers: If you don’t love capers, try subbing with finely chopped green olives.
- Parsley: The earthiness of parsley works perfectly with lentils. Cilantro or dill would be nice here, too.
Warm Lentil Salad Step-by-Step
Boil the Lentils: In a pot, combine the lentils with broth, garlic cloves, and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. When most of the lentils are tender (it’s okay if a few still have a bite in the center), turn the heat off, and let stand for 10 minutes to steam.
Cook the Shallots: Saute the shallots until deeply golden, about 10 minutes. For optimal caramelization, resist the urge to flip them more than once. Stir in balsamic vinegar at the end.
Make the Dressing: For the garlickiest flavor, grate the garlic on a microplane or crush it with a garlic press. (Don’t have either tool? Mince very finely.) Combine with lemon juice and olive oil, and set aside.
Finish the Salad: Transfer the warm lentils to a mixing bowl and let stand for a few minutes til they stop steaming. Then add the shallots, dressing, capers, and parsley, and gently stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
How to Prevent Mushy Lentils
- Avoid stirring. It’s not necessary to stir lentils when cooking them this way. You should especially avoid stirring them at the end, since they’re already tender and prone to breakage.
- Simmer gently. Keep the flame low and avoid rapid boiling.
- Undercook them. Wait, hear me out – I’m not suggesting you eat crunchy lentils! Just like when cooking beans, I like to take them off the heat when there’s still a tiny bite in the center. Then I leave the pot covered and let them stand for another ~10 minutes, so they can finish cooking with the residual steam in the pot.
- Taste as you go. The cooking time of lentils depends on their age – i.e. the older they are, the longer they’ll take. Start tasting them after 25-30 minutes. If they start to dry out during cooking, add a splash more water/broth.
- Toss gently. When combining warm lentils with the other salad ingredients, avoid hacking at them with metal tools like spoons, etc. Use a rubber spatula, if you have one.
What to Serve with Warm Lentil Salad
These lentils go perfectly with roasted potatoes, herby potato salad, pasta salad, or other roasted vegetables or grains. It’s best eaten while still warm, or at room temp. The leftovers reheat pretty well, too.
More legumes this way…
- Lobio (Georgian Bean and Walnut Stew)
- Easy Chana Masala
- Crispy Baked Falafel Patties
- Pinto Bean Salad
Let me know if you try this recipe! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag @thenewbaguette on Instagram with your creation.Print
Marinated Warm Lentil Salad (Vegan)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
- Category: Legumes
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- Diet: Vegan
This vegan warm lentil salad has sweet balsamic shallots, parsley, and lemon-garlic dressing.
- 1 cup green lentils
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 medium garlic cloves, divided
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 6 small shallots (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings* (see note below)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons drained capers, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- Place the lentils in a mesh strainer, pick through, and discard any stones/dirt. Then rinse under running water.
- Transfer lentils to a medium pot and add 2 cups broth, 1 halved garlic clove, and 1 bay leaf. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. When most of the lentils are tender (it’s okay if a few still have a bite in the center), turn the heat off, and let stand covered for 10 minutes to continue steaming.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, resisting the urge to stir more than once or twice, until they’re deeply golden on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Then add 1 tablespoon of balsamic, quickly toss, and turn the heat off.
- Grate the remaining garlic clove on a microplane into a small bowl (or crush/finely mince it). Add 2 tablespoons each of oil and lemon juice.
- Drain off any remaining broth in the pot, discard the bay leaf, and transfer the lentils to a mixing bowl. Let stand for a few minutes until they stop steaming. Add the shallots, dressing, capers, and parsley. Stir gently to avoid breaking the lentils. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
Feel free to sub shallots with red onions instead. You’d probably need 2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 300
- Fat: 11.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 38.7 g
- Fiber: 14.8 g
- Protein: 14 g
Keywords: marinated, vegan, lentil, salad
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