Greek Lentil Salad

Jacqueline Alwill

Brown Paper Nutrition

By Greek we mean – more like the flavours you’d find in a traditional greek salad but with a twist, because whilst feta cheese is ridiculously tasty lentils provide a more abundant nutrition profile – and simply more protein! And protein is the macro we want to introduce into our salads to pump up the nutrient balance and satiate the appetite.

Quick nutrient snapshot on the humble LENTIL :

  • rich in plant based amino acids approximately 18g protein per cup delivering essential amino acids to the body for growth, development and repair
  • supports healthy cardiovascular function and lowering cholesterol (LDL) levels (1)
  • abundant source of fibre to satisfy appetite, regulate energy levels and support intestinal motility / bowel movements

An extra note on lentils, cooking and digestion: 

If you are new to incorporating lentils and legumes generally into the diet, go slowly, or you may (not all individuals, but some) experience slight digestive discomfort in the form of flatulence/wind initially. This can be avoided if you introduce small amounts to start rather than going hell for leather and eating legumes with every meal. Don’t despair and don’t abort mission – there are too many other great qualities in lentils long term to give up on them, but I thought best mention it rather than you go for it and wonder why it’s happening.

You can help tenderise lentils and aid digestion by cooking lentils with kombu – a form of seaweed. Kombu contains wonderful minerals such as iodine (supports thyroid function) and powerful enzymes which help break down the raffinose sugars present in beans like lentils, resulting in less of the ‘gassy’ effect. Win right?

This is one of those salads that tastes sensational as is, but should you wish you can split the servings down a little and add more protein from fish or chicken etc if you wish.

PS. If the other salads in the image are also making you drool then read on to find the recipes!

 

GREEK LENTIL SALAD

GF : DF : SF : VEGAN

Serves 4 as as side

1 cup cooked lentils  (approx 1x 400g tin organic lentils rinsed and drained)

1 punnet (250g) cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 small bunch basil, leaves picked and shredded

1/4 small bunch mint, leaves picked and shredded

1 lebanese cucumber, diced

Dressing:

2 teaspoons (approx 1/2 lemon) lemon zest

2 tablespoons (approx 1/2 lemon) lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

sea salt and black pepper

Place lentils, cherry tomatoes, basil, mint and cucumber together in a large bowl and toss gently. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl, add to main salad ingredients and toss. Season with sea salt and black pepper and serve.

Still hungry?

Find the recipe for Miso Carrot Mung Bean and Brown Rice Salad HERE and the Pumpkin Butter Bean and Chimmichurri Salad HERE.

References:

(1) Hanson et al,  2014 Feb:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24063808