Easy Lentil, Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Looking for a easy and delicious side dish? Then you have to try my lentil salad recipe!
This salad is always a hit in my vegetarian home because it's so refreshing, tasty, and not to mention good for your health because of its high protein content, six minerals and two B-vitamins.
The main ingredient in this recipe - lentils belong to the legume family (a class of vegetables that include beans, peas and lentils) and have many health benefits. They are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber and they also help manage blood-sugar disorders.
Although this appetizer is meant to be served warm, it's also great on the second day after the flavors deepen. That's if you end up with any leftovers.
What do you think of this recipe?
- 1 cup cooked lentils (or 1/2 cup dry lentils)
- 2 medium tomatos, diced
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- to taste coarse salt
- to taste freshly ground pepper
- 1 cucumber, chopped
Dry or Cooked Lentils?
When you're preparing a dish that uses lentils, you will have the option of using either dry lentils or cooked ones. Which one should you go with? I was short on time when I was preparing this dish so I went with already cooked lentils.
If you have time and decide to go with dry lentils, you will need to cook them and lucky for you, they don't need to be pre-soaked, which will save you some time as opposed to other legumes. To cook, rinse the lentils under cold water and then drain them. Then, put the lentils in a saucepan and fill the saucepan with cold water, using a ration of 2 to 1. Set your stove to medium-high heat and once the lentils are boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until the lentils are tender. This will take about 25 minutes.
The main difference between store-bought cooked lentils and lentils that you cook yourself is that the canned lentils have a higher content of sodium (which is used to preserve the lentils). You can rinse the canned lentils under cold running water to remove some of the sodium content.
How to Dice Cucumbers
Do you know the right way of dicing cucumbers? To dice the right way, you will need to:
- Peel the bitter green skin
- Remove the ends of the cucumber
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and again in half
- Use a spoon to remove the seeds
- Cut into half inch chunks
- Lastly, cut the cucumber into dices
- Cook dry lentils. Alternatively, if you're using cooked lentils, wash them under running water and warm them up on the stove over low heat, stirring for 5 minutes until they are warm. When your lentils are ready, place them in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients to your bowl of lentils. Toss well.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
|Serving size: 2|
|Calories from Fat||126|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 14 g||22%|
|Saturated fat 2 g||10%|
|Unsaturated fat 1 g|
|Carbohydrates 25 g||8%|
|Sugar 0 g|
|Fiber 9 g||36%|
|Protein 10 g||20%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Different Types of Lentils
Lentils are great in soups and salads but did you know that they come in many different colors, sizes and textures? Below is an overview of some varieties of lentils.
- Beluga Lentils - Beluga lentils, also known as black lentils are shiny black when cooked and look like Beluga caviar. They're generally more expensive then others sorts of lentils. Use these sorts of lentils in salads or lentil soup.
- Brown / Green Lentils - Brown or green lentils are the most common ones that you'll find at any grocery store. These types of lentils can be used in any lentil recipe. Just be sure not to overcook them or they'll turn mushy.
- French Green Lentils - French green lentils originate in Puy, France where they're known as lentilles vertes du Puy are considered the best quality of lentils. They are the most delicate and flavorful lentils.
- Red Lentils - Red lentils have a salmon color when dry and turn a golden color when cooked. These cook faster then other types of lentils and are great in purées and soups.
- Macachiados Lentils - Macachiados lentils originate in Mexico, are yellow in color and are larger than other lentils.