I’m ready for it to feel like spring here and I’m channeling it as best I can by filling my fridge with early spring produce and all the fresh herbs. This lentil salad has been my go-to as of late, partly because makes quite a bit, but also because it’s just so good! Having this salad made in the fridge feels like a blessing when lunch time comes around and I’m closing in on hangry-mode. This salad is wonderfully simple and a great addition to your meal prep/batch cooking session. The hearty lentils are accompanied by crisp radishes and shallots, a variety of fresh herbs, and topped with a light apple cider vinegar dressing. The flavors are light and fresh but the salad itself is filling, yet not in a way that you feel weighed down and heavy. Serve on a bed of greens with a side of toasted bread and hummus, and you have a perfectly satisfying meal you can toss together from the fridge in less than 5 minutes.
Lentil Nutrition 101
Lentils are a pulse crop along dry beans, chickpeas, and peas, and are part of the legume family. They come in a wide with colors that include yellow, red-orange, green, brown, and black, and have numerous nutritional benefits.
Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber with 1/2-cup cooked proving 9 g of protein and 8 grams of fiber.
In addition, lentils are an excellent source of folate, manganese, phosphorus and thiamin. Folate (or folic acid as it is called when used in supplements and fortification) is essential for preventing birth defects as well as metabolizing homocysteine, which has been linked to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular problems. The recommend daily intake of folate is 400 micrograms for both men and women (600 micrograms for women who are pregnant) and 1 cup of lentils provides about 90% of those daily folate requirements.
Lentils are also a good source of zinc, which is one of the several nutrients required for the immune system to function properly. This is important especially for those consuming a plant-based diet since most plants do not contain a high amount of zinc and amount absorbed per meal is very low– varying from 8-32%. Lentils are also one of the best plant sources of iron with 1 cup proving 37% of the daily recommendation.
Some of the health benefits of lentils include helping control blood glucose levels and reduce heart disease. Lentils help with glycemic control thanks to being high in fiber and resistant starch. Lentils are low in fat, high in fiber, and full of minerals that support a heathy heart. Fiber is associated with lower incidences of cardiovascular disease and can reduce LDL cholesterol levels beyond what can be achieved by a diet low in saturated and trans fats alone.
Recipe Notes: This recipe calls for black lentil because they hold up better when cooked. However, french or green lentils will still be delicious. This salad makes a little over four cups. It serves 4 as a main or 6 as a protein accompaniment to a larger green salad or bowl meal. I find this amount is perfect for prepping for a week’s worth of lunches. However, if you don’t want leftovers you can always halve the recipe.
Black Lentil Salad with Radish and Herbs
- 1 cup black lentils
- 1 bunch radishes
- 2 shallots
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
Your turn! What is your go-to meal prep recipe? Do you ever cook lentils and use them throughout the week? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you make this recipe I’d love to know! Comment below and make sure you snap a pic and tag #nourishedbynutrition on Instagram so I can see!