Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tired of the Same Old Salad?

It's still nippy out, but there are moments when I am convinced spring is here in spite of the still cool weather.  I am longing for lighter meal offerings.  We love salads at our house; or at least the women do.  He sometimes likes salads; especially if they are followed by an entree'.  For me, a salad with a crusty roll or piece of fruit is enough for a light supper. This lentil salad is a great spring meal.  It's hearty enough to still qualify as comfort food in my book, but is a bit lighter than the winter food we've been eating.

STOP RIGHT THERE!  I hear you whispering and maybe declaring loudly that your family wouldn't eat this.  Hear me out.

I first made this when my girls were still in grade school and I wondered if they would even try it, let alone like it.  Surprise,  they loved it!  Everyone loves it, honest.  This is the recipe that you take somewhere and everyone calls up later and asks for the recipe (which proves that they were not just being polite at the time they said it).

  • Meat eaters like it because it's filling.
  • Vegetarians like it because lentils are complete protein.
  • Hostesses like it because not only can it be made ahead or time; it has better flavor if it is. 
  • The rest of us like it because it's just so darn tasty.
And if that isn't enough of a testimonial; it's good for you too!  Spinach  and lentils are sooo healthy; that's a nice side benefit.  I keep lentils in my pantry staples.  They keep forever.  I make this salad over and over because it's just plain delicious.  Come on; be brave and daring, you'll be glad you did.  This recipe makes a lot but it keeps well and you'll have enough to indulge in this salad later.  If you are making this for a couple or a small family, you might want to reduce the recipe by 1/2.
Have I convinced you yet?  Let me know what you think about it after you've tasted it.

Lentil, Spinach, and Feta Salad with Sour Cherry Vinaigrette

1 ½ C. dried green French lentils
4 C. lightly packed fresh spinach, washed, drained, and stems removed
1 red onion, halved through root end and thinly sliced
6 oz. drained feta cheese, cubed
¾ C. Sour Cherry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the lentils in a saucepan, add enough water to cover by 3 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. The lentils will be just tender and still holding their shape. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
Place the spinach, lentils, onion, feta, and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to blend. Do not over mix because the spinach may bruise and the feta will crumble. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 6 to 8

Sour Cherry Vinaigrette:
¼ C. red wine vinegar
¼ C. balsamic vinegar
1 shallot, minced
½ C. dried tart cherries or dried cranberries
1 Tab. chopped fresh chives
Juice of 2 limes
¼ C. olive oil
¼ C. canola or safflower oil
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix together the vinegars, shallot, cherries, chives, and lime juice in a bowl. Slowly add the olive oil and canola oil while whisking constantly until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use or up to 6 days.
Makes about 1 ½ cups vinaigrette.

This tart, fruity dressing is also good on mixed greens or grilled chicken breasts.


  1. You have totally sold me on the salad, I'm either going to make it tonight instead of pesto pasta to go with chicken breasts or next week. . .It sounds great and I love that I have everything called for already in my house!

  2. I have some lentils just waiting to be used up...and now I know how. thanks Bonnie! Also, my mom said you're an expert pesto-freezer :) Could you give me some tips? you can email me if you want. candace.little@gmail.com

  3. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. I think you really will enjoy this salad.

  4. In total agreement about the lentils, they are a perfect substitute for meat!

    WOW...a cherry dressing! I love cherry anything and this sounds so good to me.

  5. I just sent myself a link to this salad. It looks amazing. I will also share this blog with my daughter who is a vegetarian. I am a new follower just because of this one recipe! But I'm going to read more, too.