Curried Lentil Salad

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You all know that I love lentils. They’re delicious and healthy, but they’re also versatile. Once they’re cooked, you can serve them as a side dish, as an entrée, a soup, a dip, or a salad!

On my blog I’ve posted on a lentil salad before – an Ethiopian salad of lentils with fresh jalapeños that can be served cold or room temperature. It’s wonderful in the summer months because of the freshness that the jalapeños bring to the salad.

Well this salad I’m posting on today is delicious year ’round. It’s equally good in the winter as the summer months, and every month in between. It’s a lentil salad tossed with a curried garlic-citrus dressing. The dressing I made is as important as the salad itself.

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I feel it’s very important to match dressings or vinaigrettes to salad ingredients, which is why I prefer to make my own dressings from scratch. And when it comes to salads made predominantly, if not exclusively with legumes, I find that lemon- or lime-based dressings are preferable over vinegar. And I love vinegar, don’t get me wrong. There’s just something about that acidity that pairs well with the legumes. I find it true with grain salads as well.

So today’s salad is a combination of cooked lentils, with some celery, carrots, and dried pomegranate seeds. Good, but not great. In addition, I’ve made a fabulous lemon juice-based dressing with a little twist. I hope you enjoy it.

I am not posting an exact recipe, because none is needed. Just go with what you like in the salad as well as with the dressing. Remember – no rules. It’s your food, you make it how you like it!

Lentil Salad

For the salad, I simply borrowed some lentils that I’d cooked the day before. Make sure the lentils are well-drained for the salad, if there’s an abundance of cooking liquid with the lentils. Alternatively, or use a slotted spoon to collect them. Then place the lentils in a medium-sized serving bowl, depending how big your salad is going to be.

To the lentils add thinly sliced celery and carrots. You could also add shallots or purple onions as well.

At this point, taste the lentil salad and make sure it is well seasoned. There’s no need going forward if the lentils aren’t seasoned to your liking. Salt and pepper should do the trick.

I cook my lentils, typically, in water with a chicken broth powder added. It’s a wonderful product I’ve talked about before, that I buy in 1 lb. packages online. The chicken flavor of the broth adds enough seasoning to the lentils so that for me, no more is required. It “rounds” out the lentil flavor nicely.

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Toss the salad gently, and then make the dressing.

Curried Garlic Citrus Dressing

Juice of 3 lemons, strained, about 1/3 cup
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons orange-infused oil
2 small cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon curry powder*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric

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In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, and oils. Then add the garlic and seasoning.
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Give everything a good stir, and you’re ready to go.
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Place the lentil salad in bowls for serving, and top with the dried pomegranate seeds. Raisins or currants would work just as well.
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Add as much of the dressing you want to each salad; I like a generous amount.
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Toss gently to get the lentils coated with the dressing, and enjoy.

This salad is best at room temperature.

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* I use a Penzey’s curry powder called sweet curry powder that I like. I wrote about this product in a post before, albeit a very short post, because I find this curry powder a decent blend if you don’t make your own from scratch. If you’re not too fond of curry, which is actually many, many different spices all mixed together, I would start out with a very small amount and work your way up. But I would try it. The lemon juice, the orange oil, the curry, plus the lentils and dried pomegranate seeds go so well together, it would be a shame to not experience these flavors!

note: If you don’t like the sharp bite of fresh garlic, place all of your ingredients in a mini blender and purée the dressing before using. Also, if you don’t have an orange-infused oil, a good olive oil will work well.

53 thoughts on “Curried Lentil Salad

    • Hahahaha! There’s no substitute, because it’s not a necessity. I just wanted some crunch, so I included celery and carrots. There are so many different ways to go. You could always add chopped red bell pepper for some nice crunch, plus some purple onion!

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  1. I’ve been admiring these types of beautiful, colorful salads recently! And, lentils are one of my favorites, not too mention they are incredibly filling and healthy! This is the type of thing I love to have for a weekday lunch. Thank you, chef!

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    • Frontier makes a vegetable broth but I don’t like it as well. The chicken broth is actually no-meat, and I really like the flavor. I like having the powder so you can use as much or little as you want!

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  2. This looks great and sounds wonderful. I’m headed into the house to put on the lentils right now! You just inspired dinner tonight. Thanks.

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    • It is. But I really do make a similar salad during all seasons. I think the lemon juice keeps things light! And perhaps in the summer I would just throw in a few currants or raisins…

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  3. What lovely vibrant colours, and I particularly like the photo of the dressing drizzling over the salad spectacular!
    The dressing sounds very unique and delicious. I often use passata on my salad and always pep it up with cumin, garlic and turmeric – I think spices add a lovely warmth and depth to vegetable dishes like this.

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    • I not only love lentil salads, I love adding lentils to salads. It makes them a little more meaty. Especially warmed up! They’re good with salmon, or chicken, as well, on salads!

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  4. Hello Chef Mimi, I can’t believe it had taken this long for me to visit your blog, you have great recipes and food ideas. I’ve been trying for a decent lentil salad for weekday dinners, this looks like a great base to use and try other add-ins. Thank you!

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  5. I love lentils! And eat them curried in dal all the time. But a curried salad? Haven’t done that. But will! Good recipe — thanks.

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  6. I love lentils, I love salads, I love strong fragrant tastes … and with these amazing colours, too, it reminds me of the confetti that get copiously strewn around the week before Ash Wednesday, during Carnevale. I am going to call this ‘carnevale salad’ even though there is so much of India in it!

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