Fresh basil

Lentil Salad with Zucchini and Herbs

Lentils pack a powerful nutritional punch. High in fiber, they help lower your cholesterol and protect your heart. Their calories are made up of complex carbohydrates which help to manage blood sugar (especially important for diabetics); and they are a good source of iron, B-vitamins, folate and magnesium.  In addition, this low-fat legume is an incredibly inexpensive source of vegetarian protein – one cup of cooked lentils contains 17 grams!  Whew! The mighty lentil, who knew?

It’s super easy to cook up a big batch of this salad. It will keep in the fridge for several days ready to be packed for lunch and it’s also perfect to take to a picnic, potluck, or barbeque where there may not be many choices for a healthy or vegetarian eater.  This recipe can easily be adapted for a vegan or dairy-free diet; simply omit the cheese.

Canned lentils are a handy substitute for dried; you’ll need about two cans, drained and rinsed.

Instructions

  • 1. Cook lentils in a large pot of boiling water for 20 minutes, or until cooked. You want the lentils to be tender, but not mushy. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl. Stir in capers.
  • 2. To make vinaigrette, whisk together 2½ tablespoons olive oil, grated lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Alternatively, you can shake all ingredients together in a jar with a lid. Set aside.
  • 3. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over high heat. Add zucchini and a pinch of salt and sauté 4-5 minutes, or until zucchini is lightly browned.
  • 4. Transfer zucchini to bowl with lentils and capers, and toss with vinaigrette.
  • 5. Stir herbs and feta cheese into lentils. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or chill and serve later at room temperature.