One of my favorite things to make for lunch is a salade composée, or mixed salad, from leftovers. After dinner or any larger meal, I will store even tiny portions of leftover meat or veggies because I know they’ll become part of an eventual, spur-of-the-moment lunch. When the inevitable daily question rolls over—what’s for lunch today?—I open the fridge and scavenge through the shelves to fix myself a plate. I try to balance things out. Some protein, grains, veggies, and nuts or seeds all get thrown over a well-dressed bed of salad greens. This actually makes a filling lunch that scores high on satisfaction levels by producing an appetizing plate full of textures, flavors, and colors while nixing unnecessary waste. It’s a win-win!
But I love mixed salads so much that once in a while, I will take some time to actually plan ahead and produce a thought-out dish. This gorgeous Lentil Niçoise Salad was born from my desire to eat lentils more often. Lentils can be such a lifesaver. As long as you have them in the pantry, you’re just a few minutes away from considerably improving the nutrition levels of any meal. If they’re dry, they don’t require pre-soaking so they take about 20 minutes to prepare. If they’re canned, they provide instant satisfaction. Plus, they’re extremely versatile. You can easily add them to soups, salads, curries, and breakfast dishes (lentils + fried eggs = match made in heaven!), and even desserts will benefit from their nutrition boost. Lentils are a fabulous source of fiber and proteins AND they’re low in fat. There’s just no excuse not to make a habit of stocking—and eating—lentils!
In this Lentil Niçoise Salad, I replaced tuna, which is the traditional protein served in the dish, with aromatic lentils. Although the salad does require prep for a few elements—the lentils, potatoes, green beans, and eggs all require boiling—I’ve perfected a way to multitask and pull it together so the salad comes together within 30 minutes. If you prefer, you can prepare all the elements in advance and assemble them right before serving.
This Lentil Niçoise Salad makes an elegant weekend breakfast or brunch dish or a fabulous dinner when your diet needs a healthy, flavorful punch.
Makes 2 servings.
This Lentil Niçoise Salad makes for an elegant brunch dish, or a fabulous dinner when your diet needs a healthy, flavorful punch.
15 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
For the dressing: Place all ingredients in a screw-top jar. Shake vigorously. Set aside.
For the lentils: Place the lentils in a saucepan, then add 1 ½ (375 ml) water, the garlic clove, and the thyme. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to the minimum and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender with a bite. When the lentils are done, drain, remove the thyme sprig and garlic clove, and transfer them to a bowl. Add 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the dressing, some freshly ground black pepper, and a good pinch of salt. Mix to combine, then let cool to room temperature.
For the salad: While the lentils are cooking, prepare a large bowl with cold water and ice and set it close to the stove. Place the potatoes and the eggs in a saucepan, then cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, then set a timer for 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the ice water bath, leaving the potatoes to simmer. Increase the heat to medium, then add the green beans to the saucepan. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the green beans to the ice water bath. Test the potatoes by pricking them with a sharp knife. If they still seem too firm, keep on simmering them for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to the ice water bath and leave to cool completely, about 5 minutes.
To serve: Peel and halve the eggs. Set aside.
Quarter the potatoes, and cut the green beans in 1-in (2.5-cm) lengths. Transfer to a large salad bowl. Add the baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, and half of the cooked lentils. Shake the dressing again, then drizzle 2 tbsp (30 ml) over the salad. Toss gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Divide the dressed salad between two bowls. Top each serving with black olives, walnuts, capers, and parsley. Place one egg over each portion. Serve immediately.
- Although this recipe is meant to have you prepare all the components at once by multitasking, you can also prepare most of it in advance—dressing, lentils, eggs, potatoes, and green beans. Store all prepped components in airtight containers in the fridge for up to one day (make sure to store the eggs unpeeled). Assemble the salad right before serving.
- Store the remaining cooked lentils in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Turn them into a quick and easy lunch by serving them alongside sliced avocado and a runny egg.
- Store any leftover dressing in the fridge for up to a week. It’s extremely versatile so use it to dress any and all salads.
It’s a fact: most Canadians are not eating the daily number of fruits and veggies recommended by Canada’s Food Guide. The goal of Half Your Plate is to provide an easy, visual guideline to help you improve your daily intake: simply fill half of each meal and snack with vegetables or fruits.
Lentils are a type of pulse crop, along with dry beans, dry peas, and chickpeas. To the contrary of other pulses though, lentils do not require presoaking: simply simmer them like you would rice and you’re minutes from boosting the nutrition levels of any meal.
Lentils and produce are a powerful combination. Cooking up meals that include both will improve your diet and save you money! For more information about Canadian Lentils and the Half Your Plate initiative, see the links below:
- Lentil Nutritional Information
- Lentil Cooking Tutorials
- Veggies from A to Z
- Fruits from A to Z
- Smart Produce Shopping Tips
- How to Store Fruits and Vegetables
I was offered monetary compensation to develop a delicious recipe using lentils and vegetables. As always, companies never dictate what recipes I create, or the opinions I express. I only use products I genuinely believe in. For more information about sponsored posts, please read my Disclosure Policy. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep Food Nouveau running!
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