Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad

This Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad recipe is ready to go in about 30 minutes, made with hearty lentils, sauteed veggies, lots of fresh spinach, and a tangy lemon dressing. It's SO delicious, and also makes great leftovers! | gimmesomeoven.com (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free)

Honeys, I’m home! ¬†ūüíõ

After spending¬†two unbelievably beautiful weeks in France,¬†Barclay and I packed up our bags and made our way back across the ocean to¬†Kansas City on¬†Wednesday night. ¬†And I’ve been busy sleeping off the jet lag, catching up with friends and family, re-stocking my fridge, doing laundry, slugging through my inbox, sorting through the 1000+ photos we snapped, and making up for lost snuggle-time with my pup ever since. ¬†Goodness, I already miss France so much! ¬†But as always, it really¬†does feel so good to be back.

Welllll, I should probably say that it¬†mostly feels good to be back.¬† On Friday night, an enormous storm decided to barrel through Kansas City and flood our neighborhood and overwhelm the roof of our¬†apartment building…which resulted in literally buckets and¬†buckets of sludgy water leaking¬†down my walls and collapsing part of¬†my ceiling…which promptly¬†turned our dinner-and-a-movie date night “in” into an all-evening mopping and cleaning fest. ¬†Thank goodness we were home, or half of my apartment would have been completely flooded. ¬†But then, to add yet another layer to the craziness, I woke up on Saturday morning to a stuffy, smelly apartment and realized that my freaking air conditioner wasn’t working! ¬†Gah! ¬†Turns out that it was completely fried during the storm, and won’t be fixed until tomorrow, which means three whole days sans a/c during a 95-degree week.

Ha, talk about a “warm” welcome home. ¬†ūüėā

Still, crazy apartment complications aside, I’m happy to get back into the swing of things this week. ¬†And it has felt¬†so good to get back into my kitchen! ¬†After obsessing over French pastries and cheeses and baguettes and wine for two weeks, Barclay and I decided we were due for a¬†healthy-eating “cleanse” during this first week back home. ¬†So we’ve substituted Pellegrino for wine, we’re taking a break from bread, and I stocked my fridge full of all of my favorite fruits and veggies to cook us some ultra-fresh dinners for a week. ¬†My favorite one so far?!

This¬†wonderful, simple, hearty, and¬†tr√®s d√©licieux¬†“zesty”¬†lentil spinach salad.

This Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad recipe is ready to go in about 30 minutes, made with hearty lentils, sauteed veggies, lots of fresh spinach, and a tangy lemon dressing. It's SO delicious, and also makes great leftovers! | gimmesomeoven.com (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free)

This recipe was actually at the top of my list to try when we got home from France. ¬†It was inspired by a lentil spinach salad that I had with my friend, Kathryne,¬†at a new local place called tLoft right before we left on the trip. ¬†On the menu, the salad had so many things I love —¬†lentils, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, red peppers, feta, and a lemon vinaigrette. ¬†But when I ordered it and took a bite, the whole salad seemed wayyyy¬†sweeter than I was expecting with just a small hint of lemon. ¬†I was craving something far more savory with a super bright, lemony twist.

So this past weekend, I decided to try making my own more savory version of this salad at home.  And after two tries, I think I nailed it.  :)

This Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad recipe is ready to go in about 30 minutes, made with hearty lentils, sauteed veggies, lots of fresh spinach, and a tangy lemon dressing. It's SO delicious, and also makes great leftovers! | gimmesomeoven.com (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free)

To make the salad, I simply popped a pot of lentils on the stove to simmer in some veggie stock.  (I recommend using green (French) lentils or black (beluga) lentils here, as they will hold their shape more than their mushy red and yellow counterparts.)This Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad recipe is ready to go in about 30 minutes, made with hearty lentils, sauteed veggies, lots of fresh spinach, and a tangy lemon dressing. It's SO delicious, and also makes great leftovers! | gimmesomeoven.com (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free)

Then while the lentils were doing their thing, I saut√©ed up a bunch of broccoli, mushrooms (optional, if you don’t like them), red onions and garlic until they were nice and cooked, but still a little bit crisp (versus being totally soft). ¬†Really, you can use just about any of your favorite veggies here, but I especially loved the broccoli and mushroom combo.This Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad recipe is ready to go in about 30 minutes, made with hearty lentils, sauteed veggies, lots of fresh spinach, and a tangy lemon dressing. It's SO delicious, and also makes great leftovers! | gimmesomeoven.com (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free)

Then, I added everything together in a big bowl, along with an extra spoonful of olive oil and lots of freshly-squeezed lemon juice and zest.

This Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad recipe is ready to go in about 30 minutes, made with hearty lentils, sauteed veggies, lots of fresh spinach, and a tangy lemon dressing. It's SO delicious, and also makes great leftovers! | gimmesomeoven.com (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free)

Gave it a good toss…

This Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad recipe is ready to go in about 30 minutes, made with hearty lentils, sauteed veggies, lots of fresh spinach, and a tangy lemon dressing. It's SO delicious, and also makes great leftovers! | gimmesomeoven.com (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free)

…sprinkled in some feta…This Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad recipe is ready to go in about 30 minutes, made with hearty lentils, sauteed veggies, lots of fresh spinach, and a tangy lemon dressing. It's SO delicious, and also makes great leftovers! | gimmesomeoven.com (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free)

…and voila! ¬†In less than 30 minutes, this beautiful, healthy, savory, warm lentil spinach salad was ready to go.

And I absolutely loved it.

All of those garlicky veggies paired perfectly together with the savory lentils and fresh spinach.  And while I toyed with the idea of whipping up a more complicated lemon vinaigrette, I found that the straight lemon juice cut through and balanced out out all of those other strong flavors on its own, and brightened the salad up deliciously.

Definitely the perfect meal to start our little week of extra-healthy eating. ¬†Although I must say that I’ll be looking forward to another wine and cheese night as well sometime soon… ;)

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Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad

This Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad is made with garlicky sauteed veggies, hearty lentils, fresh spinach, and some tangy lemon juice. It’s delicious when served warm, and also makes great leftovers after being chilled.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked black (beluga) lentils or green (French) lentils
  • 2.5 cups vegetable or chicken stock¬†(see below for tips on extra-delicious lentils)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces baby bella or white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 cups¬†chopped broccoli florets (about 1 small¬†head of broccoli)
  • half a medium red onion, peeled and thinly-sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 4 cups loosely-packed baby spinach, roughly-chopped
  • juice and zest of one lemon, added to taste (about 3-4 tablespoons juice)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (or goat cheese) crumbles

Directions:

  1. Rinse the lentils with water in a fine-mesh strainer, picking out and discarding any little stones that may have snuck in there.  Transfer the lentils to a medium saucepan, and stir in the stock.  Cook over medium-high heat, until the mixture reaches a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender.  Drain, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, as the lentils are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and broccoli and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in 1 additional tablespoon olive oil, red onions and garlic, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.  Continue sautéing for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant and the veggies are cooked to your desired level of tenderness.  (I liked keeping the broccoli and onions slightly crisp, and not completely soft.)  Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked (and drained) lentils, veggie mixture, spinach, lemon juice and zest, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and feta cheese.  Toss to combine.
  4. Serve warm, garnished with extra feta cheese, if desired.

For extra delicious lentils, I recommend also adding in a generous pinch of salt and pepper, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch of garlic powder when you add in the vegetable stock.

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This Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad recipe is ready to go in about 30 minutes, made with hearty lentils, sauteed veggies, lots of fresh spinach, and a tangy lemon dressing. It's SO delicious, and also makes great leftovers! | gimmesomeoven.com (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free)

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13 comments on “Zesty Lentil Spinach Salad”

  1. Hi Ali, so glad to hear you had a wonderful trip to France and sorry to hear about the apartment struggles. I love this recipe. I actually boiled some lentils last night and took them with me to work today. Next time I will definitely try your amazing creation. Have a wonderful day. 

  2. This looks SO delicious, Ali! Don’t you hate it so much when a dish you’re really excited about comes out as SWEET? I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for creating it!

  3. It¬īs amazing how long time ago salads were just so plain and now we¬īve found ourselves cooking spectacular creative dishes! I admire creative players in the kitchen game! :) Been following different websites to improve my skills!

  4. Thanks for the new recipe. My friends went to France earlier this year and gained almost ten pounds! Baguettes, cheese, more baguettes, more cheese, wine, dessert …

    I’m sure your trip was totally worth it. Sorry to hear about the flooding. What a bummer to come home to that.

  5. Thank goodness you were home for the flood and a/c problems or you could have come home to a moldy mess. Yay for healthy/cleansing recipes. Can’t wait for France pics.

  6. So much goodness in one salad! This sounds great!

  7. This salad was so good, I over ate because I couldn’t stop munching! I used arugula instead of spinach and it worked well too! Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Can canned lentils be used instead?

  9. This looks fantastic…can’t wait to make it.