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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lentil and Quinoa Salad

These days, it can be tricky to feed your friends: one’s a vegan, one hates vegetarian food, one’s a picky eater, one eats like a horse. Feeding a large group of friends is even trickier.
We’ve found that this dish, which mixes lentils with whole grains and bathes them in a sprightly dressing, makes everybody happy. It can serve as a main dish for the vegetarians and a side dish for everybody else. Its forthright flavors make it a particularly good accompaniment to grilled meat and seafood. And it's cheap as can be to make.
Maybe you’re looking at the photo and thinking, “Lentils? KEEN-wah? What ridiculous hippie hell do you people live in?” If so, you should withhold judgment until you've tried this salad. Every time we serve it, people ask us for the recipe, and we don't have the kind of friends who do things just to be nice.
The dressing is adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
1 cup quinoa*
1 cup lentils**
zest of two lemons
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1 t. paprika****
4 fat scallions, minced
2 t. garlic, minced
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
½ cup mint or basil, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
1.    Simmer quinoa in two cups of water until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
2.    Place the lentils in a medium-size pan, cover with at least an inch of water, and boil until tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
3.    While the quinoa and lentils are cooking, prepare the dressing, mixing all ingredients.
4.    Pour the dressing over the quinoa and lentils while they are hot.
5.    Once the salad has cooled, mix in the chopped herbs.
Feeds at least four as a main dish, eight as a side dish.
* Brown rice is an excellent alternative to quinoa.
** Green, or French, lentils work particularly well in this dish, but we've also used regular brown lentils with good results.
*** If you have smoked paprika, try subbing it for half or (if you really love smoked paprika) all of the paprika.


  1. Thanks, Liz. To us, this recipe tastes exactly like summer....

  2. This is a great recipe. I also added the juice of 1 lime and instead of basil and parsley I added cilantro. Definitely will make again.

  3. Our Walmart just came out with an Oak Leaf Sangria and it is wondersul !
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