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Rainbow lentil salad with wholesome goodness of lentils, veggies and feta cheese, sprinkled with olive oil, pepper and lime juice. Perfect meal option in itself. Warning – this salad can be mind-bogglingly tasty, easy to assemble and chock-a-block full of nutrition too. Try it to believe it!
The good ‘ole whole red lentil aka chilke wali masoor ki dal is fast becoming one of my go-to staples in my pantry. And for good reason too – they are high in nutrition, quick to cook (unlike legumes or some pulses which need to be soaked overnight, lentils are good just 20 minutes of soak-time). Plus earthy, nutty flavour can elevate the simplest of dishes to something else altogether.
What makes this rainbow lentil salad nutritious?
Great news for vegetarians and vegans – Lentils are an economical source of protein and fiber. Half a cup or 100 grams of cooked lentils containing as much as 9 grams of protein and nearly 8 grams of fiber, aside from 45% of Iron, 36% of Folate, 70% Magnesium, 14% Potassium, 58% Thiamin and a whopping 127% of B6 from your daily RDAs. American Heart Association (AHA) recommends lentils as heart-friendly food, owing to its high fiber and mineral content.
Of course, lentils are flavorful and pair beautifully with comfort foods too, which is why when I’m not making lentil stews, dal or making patties for burgers with them, I’m devouring them in salad form!
This recipe packs loads of colorful veggies as well. I’ve put in carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, radish, onions and red cabbage. If it sounds like too much, well, that’s the good thing about this salad – change the veggies and customize it to suit your palate and your refrigerator contents. However, I suggest you load it up with veggies, to benefit from their rich micronutrient profile. I love how my salad looks like a rainbow here – there are ample benefits of making your food colourful.
What are the ingredients in Rainbow Lentil Salad
- Lentils – Rich in plant-based protein, low-fat content and delicious taste makes lentils ideal for salads, soups, dal – any meal option really. Lentils are available in whole (with skin) form, skinless (red lentil) and split lentil variants. I choose the wholegrain lentils as they’re much tastier and boast of a richer nutrient profile.
- Carrots – Crunchy, tasty and full of heart-healthy antioxidants, carrots are rich in fiber, calcium as well as vitamin K. What’s not to love!
- Cucumber – Hydrating, refreshing, and adds body to the salads.
- Sweet potato – Delicious, rich in fiber and helpful anthocyanins. Feel free to substitute with pumpkin, zucchini or butternut squash.
- Onion – for the crunchy, pungent kick to the salad.
- Garlic – helps enhance the flavor of the salad. However, if you find raw garlic too pungent or sharp for your taste, feel free to used fried or baked garlic.
- Red cabbage – For loads of antioxidants, great flavor and crunch. Sub with broccoli or any other cruciferous veggies.
- Tomatoes – the flavor bombs that make any dish special.
- freshly ground pepper – to add zing to the salad. I use a blend of green, red and black peppers which I grind right before adding to the recipe.
- lime juice – to add a citrusy tang to the salad.
- feta cheese – ties the ingredients together and makes the salad yummilicious. Substitute with paneer or cottage cheese, ricotta, goat cheese or even halloumi. Swap with avocadoes to make this salad vegan!
Looking for more wholesome salad recipes?
Do try my:
- Lettuce Avocado Apple Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing,
- Amaranth Peach Feta Walnut Salad, or
- Chickpea Quinoa Feta Vegetable Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing
Rainbow Lentil Salad
- 100 g or ½ cup whole red lentils/ masoor dal soaked for 20 minutes
- 1 onion sliced lengthwise
- 2-3 garlic pods minced
- 1 cucumber cubed
- 1 sweet potato boiled/ roasted, cubed
- 2 to matoes chopped
- 2 carrots sliced
- 70 g or 1 cup red cabbage shredded
- 28 g or 1 ounce feta cheese substitute with avocado for vegan option
For the dressing
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a pan and add lentils with a pinch of salt. Once the lentils are al-dente, turn off the heat, remove any foam formed on top. Set aside to cool.
- Once cool, mix all ingredients listed above.
- In a small jar, add freshly ground pepper, salt, olive oil & lime juice. Shake well and add the dressing to the salad.
- Toss the salad and devour!
- If using canned lentils, transfer the contents of the can in a microwave-safe bowl, heat for 2 minutes and then proceed with the recipe.
- Adding the dressing over warm lentils packs in more flavor. If you’re doing this, add dressing first, and add in the veggies later once the lentils are cooled.
- This salad refrigerates beautifully for about 2-3 days. Store in an airtight container and allow to come to room temperature before consuming.