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This lentil salad may look simple but it’s got great flavor, and it’s a perfect way to use in-season Spring veggies. It also happens to be vegan, if you’re into that sort of thing. This lentil salad came to be because I saw some good lookin asparagus on sale at the grocery store. I consulted my personal bible, The Flavor Bible, for inspiration and thus, this Springy Lentil Salad was born.
This salad is BRIGHT. It is POPPIN. This is due to the zingy lemon & mustard dressing. You may look at the ingredients and wonder how just a few ingredients could make a flavorful salad. Idk man, everything just goes really well together. The bright dressing balances the earthiness of the lentils & potatoes and the asparagus & leek adds a freshness to it. I have toyed with the idea of adding thick cut bacon chunks to it cause bacon is always good, but I haven’t tried it yet. Maybe you could test it out!
So, the first night that I created this salad, I served it to my sister and we were both like totally puckering our lips and sweating. Because it was so acidic and spicy. I thought, oof, less lemon, less red pepper flakes, gonna have to try again. But of course, I still had to eat the leftovers the next day. And I was pleasantly surprised! The flavors had changed. They had mellowed out and developed into something super delicious—not too acidic and not too spicy. I’ve made it twice more since and can attest that it really is a good salad. Even though it’s annoying, I recommend making this lentil salad a day before. Or make it at lunchtime and eat it for dinner. It needs time to grow into itself. Don’t we all??Print
This lentil salad may look simple but it’s got great flavor, and it’s a perfect way to use in-season Spring veggies like asparagus and leeks.
- 1 cup French green lentils, rinsed and checked for rocks (see Notes)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 lb asparagus
- 4 cloves garlic, skins removed
- 1.5 lbs fingerling potatoes
- salt & pepper to taste
- ~ ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 1 leek, white part thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- zest & juice of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 4 cloves roasted garlic from above ingredients
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- In a medium pot on the stove, add 3 cups water, lentils, and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil. Cover and let simmer on low heat for 15–20 minutes or until soft. Drain off excess water.
- Meanwhile, prepare asparagus and potatoes. Cut about 2 inches of the woody ends of the asparagus off & discard, then chop into 1½-inch pieces and add to a baking sheet along with garlic. Chop potatoes into 1-inch pieces and add to another baking sheet. Spray or toss both asparagus & potatoes with about a tablespoon of high heat oil (like avocado) and generously sprinkle with salt, pepper, & red pepper flakes.
- Roast asparagus & potatoes in the oven, tossing every 10 minutes. Take the asparagus out after 20 minutes. Take the potatoes out after 40 minutes.
- Make the dressing: remove garlic from the asparagus baking sheet and mash, then add to a small bowl or jar along with lemon juice & zest, mustard, and apple cider vinegar. Shake it up or mix vigorously.
- Combine lentils, asparagus, potatoes, dressing, and thinly sliced leeks to a large bowl or Tupperware and mix until combined. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Enjoy!
- This salad is better the second day and beyond. The first day, the flavors might be a bit strong and acidic, but with a little time they develop and mellow out. If you’d like to eat the salad right away but find it too strong, I suggest adding a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.
- French green lentils are the type of lentil I recommend for this recipe. They hold their shape better than brown or red lentils, which can become mushy with cooking. French green lentils can be found in the bulk section at most co-ops and Whole Foods. If you can only find brown or red lentils, it won’t ruin the salad. It’ll just have a different texture.
Keywords: lentils, vegan, healthy, asparagus, spring, leeks, potatoes, lemon, dressing, dairy free, gluten free
Lookin for more healthy salads that feature potatoes? Look no further than my Broccoli Kale Salad with Parmesan Potatoes!