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Complete Your Summer Spread with This Lentil Salad Recipe

June 3, 2022

When planning your summer barbecue, you likely cover the meats (or meat alternatives) first. But what about the sides? 

They may not be the stars of the show, but side dishes can make or break a barbecue spread. Luckily, this lentil salad recipe brings next-level goodness to your next meal al fresco. It’s equal parts sweet, tangy, hearty, and nutrient-dense; for meat lovers, it makes a flavorful side, while for plant-based guests, it’s hearty enough to fill the plate all on its own. With a homemade pomegranate molasses vinaigrette drizzled over black lentils, wild arugula, and mulberries, this is the kind of cookout dish that will have everyone asking for the recipe. 

Summer Lentil Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette

Yield: 6 side servings
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

For the salad:

1 cup Thrive Market Organic Sprouted Black Lentils
½ cup Thrive Market Organic Mulberries
2 cups wild arugula (or watercress)
1 cup Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
½ cup mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped 
½ cup cilantro, leaves picked and roughly chopped
⅓ cup dill, leaves picked, chopped
3 oz. Sheep’s milk feta (optional, or use a non-dairy alternative to make it vegan)
Salt (to taste)
Pepper, freshly cracked (to taste)

For the Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette:

1 ½ teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Coriander Seeds
1 ½ teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Cumin Seeds
¾ cup Thrive Market Organic Sprouted Walnut Halves and Pieces, roughly chopped
1 lemon, divided, skin peeled into strips and juice of half
5 cloves of garlic, 3 crushed and 2 grated
⅓ cup Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Just Date Syrup Organic Pomegranate Molasses
2 tablespoons Thrive Market Organic Red Wine Vinegar

Instructions

Place the black lentils into a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water.

Place the rinsed lentils and 4 cups cold water into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are cooked through and soft, but not mushy. 

Drain cooked lentils in a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain completely. 

While the lentils cook, start on the dressing. Place a medium saute pan over low heat. Add the coriander and cumin seeds and toast for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan a few times. 

Remove the toasted seeds and put them in a mortar or coffee grinder. Let cool a few minutes before grinding them down to a coarse texture. Set aside.

In the same saute pan, add the walnuts and toast for a few minutes over low heat. Once walnuts are a slight shade darker and nutty smelling, add 3-4 strips of peeled lemon skin, 3 crushed garlic cloves and ⅓ cup of olive oil. Stir to coat the walnuts in oil and warm through on low for 3-4 minutes or until the lemon peel edges have curled and become crispy.

Strain the walnut-oil mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, reserving the oil, then set walnuts aside. 

Mince the toasted lemon peels and softened garlic and add back into the bowl of warm oil along with the reserved crushed toasted coriander and cumin seeds (this will be the base of the dressing). 

To this bowl, add the juice of half the lemon, the 2 grated cloves of garlic, pomegranate molasses, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well.

In a large serving bowl, add the cooled lentils and enough dressing to fully coat, giving it a good toss. 

Add mulberries, walnuts, arugula or watercress, sliced cucumber, sliced shallot, herbs, and a little more dressing and gently toss to combine. 

Crumble the feta over the salad (if using) and toss once more to combine. 

Finish with a little more salt and fresh cracked pepper if needed. 

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Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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