So much more than a simple salad, this complex (to taste, not prepare :)), layered, amazing combination of flavors takes the humble lentil to incredible heights!
Think earthy, hearty lentils with smoky roasted peppers and sun-dried tomatoes with bright pops of lemon, red wine vinegar and fresh mint mixed with salty olives, peppery red onions and crisp fennel. There’s a whole lot going on in this rustic, traditional dish and you’ll love every bite of it 🙂
Want to mention that fennel is an important ingredient in this recipe. I recommend using the white bulb part and not the thin, green stalks on top. Do, though, remember to save, chop and add at least a tablespoon of the fennel fronds from the tops of the green stalks coming out of the bulb. And always make sure to chop your fennel bulb in a fine mince. Little bitty pieces are what we’re aiming for here. Same with the garlic that go into your dressing: itsy bitsy pieces. Keep in mind the size of your lentils. They’re the star of this show so let’s keep the supporting players in check.
I always make the dressing first. It gives the flavors a chance to come together as a unit before adding to the whole salad. And if you want to make this as mess free as possible, use a gallon size ziploc bag instead of a bowl. Mix your dressing in the bag first, add your lentils, herbs and veggies as you go. Combine everything with a few good shakes and set aside or serve immediately. Cleanup involves simply throwing away the bag 🙂
For the roasted red peppers, my go-to jar brand is Olympiana. Their fire roasted peppers are straight from Greece, no sugar/sweeteners or preservatives and they are splendid. Plenty of good brands to chose from though if you can’t find Olypiana. And most antipasto bars in the grocery store will also have them on hand. Of course, always feel free to roast your own too!
Oh, this is a good one: use the oil that your sun-dried tomatoes are packed in to add even another layer of flavor goodness here. Truth be told, I use the tomato oil for all sorts of things – never waste deliciously flavored oil! And, basically, Greek lentil salad is perfect any time of day and I especially love it for lunch. It travels well and doesn’t need to be refrigerated if it’s only going to be out a few hours or so. Bring extra though, people tend to want a taste.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp oil from sun-dried tomato jar
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves finely minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried, crushed marjoram
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- 1/4 tsp sugar (optional)
- 1 cup cooked lentils (or 1 package Melissa’s Produce steamed lentils)
**scroll down to end for lentil cooking directions
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped red onions
- 1/3 cup roasted red peppers
- 1/3 cup Kalamata olives (pits removed!)
- 1/2 cup fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped mint
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
If cooking your own lentils, put these on first and assemble recipe, adding cooked lentils last. Otherwise, begin with your dressing. Either way, it’s going to be delicious!
Mix all dressing ingredients together and set aside. Dressing keeps, covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days.
Combine all salad ingredients with lentils, gently mix well. Add dressing, mix to combine completely. You can set the finished salad aside, covered in the fridge, for up to 3 days or serve immediately with crusty bread 🙂
**lentil cooking directions – boil 1/3 cup dry lentil beans in 2 cups of water, cover tightly and cook for approx 20 minutes or until tender.