Easy Spring Lentil Salad

The baby’s sleeping, the baby’s sleeping: quick, write about lentils! The truth is what I really want to write about is the soft spring rain (not even sure we can call it that as it feels more like a mist) and the pillowy cherry blossoms gracing what feels like every street in Seattle. We have a large shrub in our front yard and every year I forget that it actually blooms until one morning in early April when I look outside and BAM it’s filled with the most gorgeous white blossoms. It’s a good time for evening scooter rides (if you’re Oliver), and making plans for a modest summer garden. It’s a good time for salad for dinner, too, which is where these lentils come into play.

I was originally testing this salad to bring to book club a few weeks back, but I had trouble finding asparagus at the time and ended up making a much simpler version — still delicious, but a little less special. Now that I’m on maternity leave I have more time to actually make something homemade for book club and do all manner of odd errands like searching high and low for asparagus, taking my wedding dress to be cleaned (yes, yes it HAS been sitting in my closet for years thank you very much), and consigning some of the clothes Oliver’s grown out of. Things that feel quite gratifying but that I generally wouldn’t have the space in my schedule to tackle.

Easy Spring Lentil Salad | A Sweet Spoonful While I’ve been really drawn into the kitchen lately, things need to be kept pretty simple because, well, at any moment Frances could wake up and … game over. I know so many of us are drawn to simple food these days anyway, so the goal was to keep the steps pretty minimal here and the method straightforward so that this feels like a super doable recipe.

Easy Spring Lentil Salad | A Sweet Spoonful Thankfully when it comes right down to it, this salad needs little adornment or fussing: it’s colorful, texturally balanced, and has the perfect zippy red wine and honey dressing. The glazed walnuts add crunch and just a touch of sweetness, and if you’re eating dairy I think it’d be killer with some soft goat cheese folded in at the end. Bring on the spring picnics — or, more realistically, the casual lunches eaten while perched on the kitchen counter thumbing through the mail and staring at the blooming trees outside. Spring, we’re so happy to see you.

Easy Spring Lentil Salad

Easy Spring Lentil Salad

  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Prep time: 15 mins
  • Cook time: 30 mins
  • Total time: 45 mins

This salad is best enjoyed slightly warm or at room temperature, so if you make it in advance, take note of that before serving. You could substitute in other veggies you’re particularly excited about or bulk it up with leftover grains. And a quick note on the dressing: at first you may feel like there’s an awful lot of it here, but trust that the lentils soak it up.

Ingredients

For the Salad:

1 1/2 cups (270g) French green lentils (preferably Le Puy)
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
kosher salt, to season
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (60g) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
3/4 cup (85g) Diamond Nuts glazed walnuts, chopped

For the Dressing

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 small shallot, peeled and minced
Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Rinse the lentils and put them in a saucepan filled with salted water. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to a simmer, and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are tender yet chewy (check them often so as not to overcook).

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the other veggies: In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leek and asparagus, sprinkle with salt and give them a good stir,  and cook for 5-7 minutes. or until asparagus is tender. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, shallot and pepper.

When the lentils are done cooking, drain them and scoop into a large salad bowl. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Fold the asparagus mixture into the bowl and dress while everything is warm.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if desired.

Fold in the parsley, tarragon and walnuts. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Comments

  1. Suzanne P.

    I have been craving asparagus and this salad sounds wonderful. I will definitely be making it soon. Thank you. Happy Spring!

    1. megang

      Fantastic! I hope you like it, Suzanne :)

  2. Karl

    Sounds great and I do love the taste of tarragon

  3. Lynne

    Oh my gosh! I just made this salad tonight. It is beautiful and tastes fantastic and my favorite part is that THERE WILL BE LEFTOVERS!!!!! You always have the best lentil recipes. Thank you for posting.

    I hope that you are able to be good to yourself in between all the other things going on in your life! It's not always easy being a mom to two little ones.

    Warmest best wishes.

    1. megang

      Hi, Lynne! Thank you so much for the sweet comment. I'm SO glad you enjoyed the recipe - I loved that there were leftovers, too; we stretched it into a few lunches. Enjoy the rest of your week :)

  4. Martina Roy

    This is very really unique helpful information. keep it up. Thank you so much!

  5. Sharon Rausch

    Thank you so much for sharing your helpful information. It's very unique post

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