Greek lentil salad is something I never really thought I would be making as I’m going to admit right up front that I have not really ever been a fan of lentils and have, frankly, been a little intimidated by them. But the more I read about these little powerhouses of nutrition (and economical to boot) I’ve been a bit more interested in trying to find a way to cook with them. I’ve asked on my Facebook page and gotten some great ideas. But it was my recent attendance at the BlogHerFood conference and stopping by the Canadian Lentils booth with all their delicious samples that helped me take the leap to give them a try.
From dips to soups to even desserts (?!?), lentils are a pretty versatile legume and I’ll admit I was much more intrigued to give them a try. Plus, knowing that they are packed with nutrition is an extra bonus! Just 100 grams of green lentils has a whole day’s worth of fiber, more potassium than a large banana and are an excellent source of folate, iron, manganese and protein, too.
I will have to say I have also discovered not all lentils are equal. Prior to cooking with the green lentils used in this recipe, I had previously only had brown lentils. I’m not sure if it was how I cooked them or what, but I had mushy, kind of yucky tasting results and that kept me from trying them again. The color of the lentils makes a different and the green ones have a sort of nutty flavor. Plus I followed directions a little better this time to cook them properly! And the extra bonus? Lentils are an economical choice at about 10-15 cents per quarter cup serving each.
At the conference, we got a copy of their cookbook (you can also find lots of recipes online). I adapted a recipe found there to create this delicious Greek Lentil & Orzo salad for this month’s challenge using an ingredient that starts with the letter K or L. It has a lot of common Greek salad flavors and comes together quickly and is easy to make ahead. We love Greek foods in our family and this was a winner. It is a satisfying and delicious vegetarian salad that is perfect as a side or light main dish.
- 1 ¼ cups orzo pasta
- 6 T olive oil, divided
- ¾ cup dry red or green lentils, rinsed and drained
- ⅓ cup red win vinegar
- 4 small cloves of garlic
- ½ cup green olives, pitted and chopped
- ¾ cup red onion, diced (about one small onion)
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup cucumber, diced
- 1 ½ cups feta cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add orzo pasta and cook until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Drain. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cover and refrigerate until cool.
- Place lentils into a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
- Combine remaining olive oil, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl.
- In bowl with pasta, add cooked lentils, oil mixture and remaining ingredients (olives through feta cheese). Stir until combined well.
- Cover and refrigerate at least two hours. This salad is also really good the next day.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy lentils?
Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way by Canadian Lentils to include them in this post. They just helped spark my interest in developing a recipe using lentils for this month’s challenge.
Join the Eating A to Z Healthy Recipe Challenge!
For all the details about the Eating The Alphabet Healthy Recipe Challenge, check out my post from earlier this year (or if you are a blogger and want to join in, there is a sign-up form to complete).
Don’t forget to check out the Eating the Alphabet Pinterest board. There you can keep track of all the recipes that are added month-to-month but also find new recipes from last year too. What’s your favorite fruit, vegetable, grain or legume that starts with the letter K or L?
Be sure to check out all the other blogs shown below to discover new recipes and ideas!