Lentil Herb Salad

There I was, almost 8 years ago, stuck with an invitation to a summer cookout at our condo’s patio with neighbors and nothing to take.  It was not unusual that we had to plan a little extra in advance since southern cookouts tend to be heavy on the meat and gluten fare.  I was used to putting some time into planning a dish that wouldn’t scare away the regulars but that day I didn’t have the advantage of time.  It was a last minute invitation that was accepted and I ran home to find the staples in the pantry…rice and beans.  Panic set in, I looked in the fridge with no relief.

Herbs

The sun shone through my kitchen window and I remembered the herb garden we made with our neighbors.  Surely there should be something I could think of.  Sure enough I started the water for the beans and rice and went down to collect the herbs.  Not sure what I was making yet I just grabbed handfuls of whatever looked good.

Lemon and parsley

It was a miracle that happened that day.  I’m sure I had recently eaten some cold type bean dish to steer me in this direction but it was also the fresh herbs that directed me.  They seemed so fresh and inviting.  So the beans and rice cooled, I added the huge pile of fresh (like picked within the hour fresh) herbs, a squeeze of lemon and as an after thought added the dried fruit for some sweetness.  Like any good cook, I was tasting along the way  but felt it was missing something…it needed some crunch.  Hello almonds!

Lemons and herbs

I can’t tell you how many compliments I had on this dish that day but what I do remember is that it was enough for me to remember to make this salad again.  I couldn’t believe that a vegan, gluten free dish could be so popular.  People (more than one) asked me for the recipe.  I gave them the “little bit of this and a little bit of that” version as I really had just gotten lucky on this one.

Lemon and herbs

Fast forward 8 years and I again am tending my little herb garden thinking what to do with these herbs that are surprisingly growing so quickly in the California sun.  I’m so glad this recipe popped into my head.  Not only does it give me a use for my herbs but it also reminds me of the good times and dear friends in Atlanta.

Lentil Herb Salad

This recipe is so easy to adapt to your personal preferences you are crazy not to try it.  All you need is the base of brown rice and green lentils, a little oil and sour, any combination of herbs that you love, a sweet and a crunchy.  I’ve even used leftover beans and rice for this recipe for a quick lunch.

Lentil Herb Salad

So, here’s to gearing up for summertime cookouts, lazy days by the pool, and long lasting friendships.  I hope you get a chance to make this salad.  I think it will earn you endless invitations!

LENTIL HERB SALAD
Print Recipe
An easy side dish or complete meal that's packed with fresh herbs.
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 Minutes 10 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 Minutes 10 Minutes
LENTIL HERB SALAD
Print Recipe
An easy side dish or complete meal that's packed with fresh herbs.
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 Minutes 10 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
40 Minutes 10 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
  1. Combine 1 cup brown rice and 1 cup green lentils in a pan with 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. Simmer the brown rice and green lentils until the water has evaporated which will take approximately 40 minutes.
  3. While the rice and lentils are cooking, chop 2 cups fresh herbs. Fresh herbs could include but are not limited to: basil, chives, parsley, oregano, cilantro, marjoram, dill, rosemary and mint.
  4. Next, chop 1 cup almonds and heat in a pan on medium high heat until dry and golden. This will take about 5 minutes. Stir often. Remove from the pan immediately or the almonds will continue to cook and may burn.
  5. Once the rice and lentils are done, pour into a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. To the rice and lentils, add 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, juice of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir until well combined.
  7. To the mixture, add the 2 cups chopped herbs, 1 cup chopped dried fruit and 1 cup toasted almonds. Stir and serve.
Recipe Notes

The more variety of herbs you use in this recipe, the lighter and fresher it tastes.  I use what I have on hand but try to have at least 3 different types.

I have used many types of dried fruit in this recipe as well.  My favorites are dried cherries, dried apricots and raisins.

This salad will keep for several days in the refrigerator.  If it gets dry, simply add 1 tablespoon each of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and stir before serving.

If you have a rice cooker, that is the easiest way to cook your brown rice and green lentils.  Since they have similar cooking times, they will cook evenly on the brown rice setting of your rice cooker.  It is a huge time saver.

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