The first time I made this recipe, it was one of those nights when I was staring at the contents of the fridge and wondering, what can I do to make a semi-decent meal here? I chopped up a few veggies and put my leftover lentils to use, and voila! Now it’s one of my favorite vegan salad recipes.
This recipe is also partly inspired by Sarah Britton of My New Roots, who writes, “You can easily take your dish to the next level simply by finishing it off with one, two, or all three of the following: citrus zest, fresh herbs, and lightly toasted nuts or seeds.”
Here’s looking to the next level!
Spicy Lentil and Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 cup dry lentils (any kind)
- 1/2 finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 stalk finely chopped celery
- 2-3 finely chopped carrots
- 1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
- 1 small avocado sliced into small chunks
- 2 teaspoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
1. Begin by cooking your lentils and quinoa. In one pot, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the water has been fully absorbed, and the quinoa is fluffy. In another pot, add lentils and cover with water (at least two inches above the lentils). Bring the water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the water is fully absorbed. Avoid adding salt to the lentils while they cook since salt can interfere with their cooking process. Remove both pots from the heat and set aside.
2. Prepare the onion, garlic, parsley, celery, carrots, olives, and avocado and place in a large bowl. Add desired amount of quinoa and lentils (I used one cup of each; you may have leftovers).
3. Stir in tamari, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, cumin, corriander, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Taste test for spices, salt, and pepper.
4. In a small, dry pan set over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds. Stir frequently for a few minutes or until the seeds are fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside.
5. Serve lentil and quinoa salad into bowls and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and lemon zest.
Photos: Mary Hood