french lentils with tomato + olives
If you are shopping for lentils, you’ll find a whole bunch of options to pick from. Red, green, brown, black, white, yellow… Besides being different hues, they also all have slightly different tastes and textures. As lentils are an amazing source of plant-based protein, its great to experiment with different varieties to see which you like best. I hate picking favorites, but if I HAD to choose, I would opt for the French lentil. They have a mild, earthy flavor, and hold their shape really well when cooked – making them great for salads like this one.
The French variety takes a little longer to cook than other lentils, but its well worth it. While my lentils cook, I like to prep the other ingredients so the salad comes together really easily. This whole recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare. It’s great on its own, or served over spaghetti squash, pasta, quinoa, or as a side dish. The longer the dressing has to marinate, the more flavorful the lentils will be. Make a day ahead of time for a protein-packed lunch on the go.
French Lentils with Tomato + Olives
1 cup French lentils, rinsed
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup pitted black olives
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
sea salt + ground pepper
Bring 5-6 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add lentils, reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 16-18 minutes.
While lentils are cooking, halve cherry tomatoes and rough chop olives and place them in a large bowl. Whisk together vinegar, garlic and mustard. Stream in olive oil, and whisk to make dressing.
When lentils are fully cooked, drain them and add to bowl with tomatoes and olive. Pour dressing over the warm lentils and stir to fully coat. Add baby spinach and stir until gently wilted. Add in fresh basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
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