Nutty lentils and fava beans, fresh mint and tangy vegetarian feta all brought together by a delicious vinaigrette with a hint of sweetness. This is a delicious lentil salad you will come back to time and again!
If you love lentil salads, try our fantastic Quinoa Salad with Lentils and Beets!
This salad was inspired by a recent visit to a favourite restaurant. It’s not very often that I find a salad that surprises me. But this salad has it all, with plenty to fill you up and a range of flavours that match perfectly.
This salad is stuffed with healthy ingredients that bring their own bit of special flavour:
- Green lentils
- Fava beans (also known as broad beans)
- Feta cheese (make sure it is made with a vegetal rennet!)
- Baby spinach
The vinaigrette brings it all together perfectly. It’s even tastier if you let it sit for a short time before adding to the salad so the flavour of the red onion has the chance to work its way through.
To make the vinaigrette you will need:
- Red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Red onion
How to cook green lentils
Lentils are a fantastic addition to a salad. They add a nutty taste and nutritious goodness. I prefer to use green lentils for a salad like this because they hold their shape better when cooked. Nothing worse than a salad full of mush!
Cooking the lentils is the longest part of this recipe but it is really very easy to do. There is not need to soak them first like some other pulses, but it’s good to give them a rinse before cooking to get rid of any dust.
To cook the lentils, place them in three cups of water and bring it all to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, add add a bit of salt, and leave it to cook for 25-30 minutes. Drain out the remaining water and set the lentils aside to cool slightly. Don’t let them cool too much. If the lentils are still warm, they will absorb the vinaigrette more readily.
Make sure you don’t overcook lentils. They should still have a bit of firmness when done, similar to cooking pasta al dente.
To make things even easier you can use canned lentils instead of dried. Canned lentils are already cooked so can be added directly to the salad without other preparation. I prefer the taste and feel of dried lentils, especially as they are so easy to cook.
How to cook fava beans
Fava beans, also known as broad beans, look intimidating but easy as well. There are a couple of steps but they are quick and simple to do.
Before cooking them remove the beans from the pods. Steam the beans for 5-7 minutes and let them cool slightly. If you are in a hurry then add them to cool water.
When they aren’t too hot to handle, pop the leathery outer skin off to get the lovely green beans inside. They should come out really easily.
- 1 cup green lentils dried
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup fava beans shelled/500 g in pods
- 2 cups baby spinach
- ½ small red onion sliced
- ¼ cup vegetarian feta cheese, crumbled
- 3-4 mint leaves
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4-5 mint leaves, minced
- 4-5 thyme sprigs leaves only, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook lentils in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, add salt and cook for 25-30 minutes. Lentils should still be quite firm to the bite for this salad. Meanwhile shell fava beans and steam them for 5-7 minutes. Cool slightly and peel the outer skin off.
- In a jam jar combine honey, red wine vinegar, olive oil and minced mint, thyme and garlic. Add salt and pepper, put a lid on and shake until the mixture is emulsified, then add sliced red onions and set aside. This step with allow onions to marinate slightly and lose their bitterness.
- Drain cooked lentils, add fava beans and vinaigrette and toss lightly with honey vinaigrette while lentils are still hot. That would help them absorb more flavour. Cool in the fridge.
- Before serving combine with spinach, feta and mint leaves. Serve cold.
Feta cheese made in the traditional way is not vegetarian, but there are a lot of good options that are. Check the label carefully to make sure it is made with a vegetal rennet.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 202Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 291mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 6gSugar: 7gProtein: 7g