Citrus Lentil Salad

Lentils…who knew?!

I was lucky enough to snag a free package of lentils from the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council a few weeks ago.  At the time, I had no idea what I was going to do with them.  The only thing I’ve ever really associated lentils with was soup.  It’s 100 degrees here.  Far too hot for soup!

The package that the council sent me along with the lentils was full of information!  First, as long as they’re kept dry, you can store lentils indefinitely.  Second, lentils are extremely healthy!  They are full of protein, fiber, Folate (a B vitamin) and Iron.  They are also low in calories and contain virtually no fat!

Lentils are also fast!  They don’t require soaking, like many dried beans, and cook in about 15 minutes.  The cooking ratio is 1 part lentils to 2 parts water.  So, if you’re cooking 1 cup of lentils, you’ll use 2 cups of water.  Bring it all to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, cover them and cook them for about 15 minutes (or until tender).  So easy!

There are 6 types of lentils: Pardina (small brown), Brewer (regular), Skinless Red, Yellow Split Peas, Green Split Peas and Chickpeas.  The salad below was made with Brewers Lentils.

Citrus Lentil Salad

This Citrus Lentil Salad is a quick and easy dish that would be treated as a side or a main course!  Lentils are packed with protein, so this a great vegetarian option too.

The players:
Brewers (regular) Lentils
Red Onion
Orange
Cheyenne Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar
Basil
Sea Salt and Pepper

These are lentils.  They’re tiny!  I started with 3/4 cup, so to follow ratio, I used 1-1/2 cups of water.  These just get cooked as described above.

You’ll want to thinly slice some red onion.  You can make the pieces as big or as small as you like, but I would definitely keep them bite size.

Remember the segmented orange from yesterday?  I told you it would be important today.

Vinegar is my BFF.  I love it.  Specifically Balsamic.  You’ll want at least 2 Tablespoons, but could easily add a little more if you really enjoy vinegar like me!

To keep with the super simple feel of this recipe, I didn’t even bother with a knife for the basil.  I just tore it by hand and pitched it in.  The Cheyenne pepper (1 tsp), sea salt and pepper (to taste) go in at the end to finish it.

The basil, citrus and vinegar would be amazing alone, but the bite from the Cheyenne pepper really sets this off.  It was quite good.  Even my 2 year old liked it!  Another variation you could try would be peaches in place of the oranges or cilantro in place of the basil.

Have you ever tried lentils?  What did you think?

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10 Responses to Citrus Lentil Salad

  1. Carolyn says:

    Oh that looks good. I love lentils, and have made a lot of dishes with them, but never thought of adding an orange…

    Stumbled back :)

  2. I recently bought a bag of lentils (sometimes hard to find around here), and also discovered, to my amazement, that they didn’t take long to cook. I always assumed they took as long as beans. I’ve been feasting on them of late! I’m kinda a simpleton when it comes to my beans and such, so I actually just boil the lentils with lots of garlic and salt. Then I make up a batch of brown rice overcooked (I like my rice to split open and be fluffy) with butter, garlic, and salt. Throw the lentils over the rice, and I’m a happy girl.

    The other day I spiced it up by throwing raw carrot slices in with the lentils while they cooked. It cooked the carrots, added an extra veggie to the dish, and added a hint of carrot flavor to the mix. I suspect several other veggies would work just as well!

  3. Brooke Buhl says:

    Ok, yum! I love lentils and make them often…this is going on my menu plan for next week! Thanks for the yummy post.

    Brooke,
    petiteelan.blogspot.com

  4. Amy says:

    I love lentils too! One thing I like to use them for is as a substitute for meat in tacos! They take on flavor really well and are sooo healthy.

    BTW–I’m following, subscribing, and stalking you on twitter back from Feed Me Friday…a week ago. Sorry it’s taken me so long to return the follow. I just switched to wordpress and as a result have yet another email account I have to keep track of. :) See you soon and I look forward to more great recipes!

  5. Nice recipe. Gave you a stumble. If you could stop by http://www.twokidsandacoupon.com/2011/07/how-to-save-money-while-dining-out-and.html that would be great. Thanks!

  6. aquariann says:

    I haven’t tried lentils, but your salad looks lovely.

    Btw, I stumbled this! Please stumble Knockout Rose back.

  7. Julia says:

    I’ve never tried lentils. I love vinegar too!

    Thanks for the stumble. I’ve stumbled this post!
    http://confessionsofafrugalmind.blogspot.com/

  8. Heather says:

    Looks so yummy – stumbled you back!

  9. ChildTalk says:

    Mmmmm! Stumbled you back!

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