Lentils are one of those things like chili and crockpot tacos that I just hardly think of making during the summer. I think of lentils in stews like this one with tomatoes and chicken sausage, or braised with curry and butternut squash and chard. But it turns out that lentils are also great as salad, with fresh vegetables and bright fruity flavors. They’re also full of fiber and protein, so for me, they make a perfect addition to any meal in place of other carb-y side dishes.
I got the idea for this salad from my beloved Moosewood Lowfat Favorites cookbook, a vegetarian cookbook guaranteed to delight any carnivore. The creamy mango dressing sounded wonderful, but I sensed a few changes to make the dish even better. The original recipe called for celery. Really, I don’t care much for celery and didn’t want to buy a while bunch just for this dish. I figured the celery was included to give the salad a crunchy bite, so I thought jicama would be a great substitute. It would also add a little extra flavor and a touch of sweetness. I also thought cilantro was a natural accompaniment to the curry, mango, and lime.
The final results? A refreshing, flavorful salad that could be hefty enough as a meal on top of a bed of spinach, or perfect as a side dish alongside a simple protein like grilled fish or broiled shrimp.
Crunchy Lentil Salad with Curried Mango Yogurt Dressing
Adapted from Moosewood Lowfat Favorites
1 cup lentils
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups water
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup diced jicama (about 200gm)
1 cup finely chopped red onion
2/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (150gm)
50 gm diced mango
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp finely minced red onion
juice from 1/2 lime
salt, to taste1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Place the lentils and garlic in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are just tender. Drain the lentils and toss with the pepper, jicama, and onion. Let stand about 15 minutes to cool off a bit.
Puree the mango in a food processor, then add the yogurt, curry powder, onion, and lime juice. Pulse a few times to combine, then season to taste with salt. Pour the dressing over the lentils and vegetables, and stir to combine. Finally fold in the cilantro. The salad will keep for a couple days in the fridge, but is best served at room temperature, so take it out just a little while before serving.
Makes 4 generous servings.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 21.6 mg
Total Carbs: 36.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 16.0 g
Protein: 15.5 g