Lentil Quinoa Salad – Plant Protein Power Couple
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Today, we’ve got a delicious lentil quinoa salad for you to try! The protein-packed base of red lentils and quinoa is jazzed up with crunchy almonds, tangy olives and creamy avocado.
Toss all that in a sweet, sharp dressing of olive oil, honey and vinegar and you’ve got a lentil quinoa salad that is sure to become a favourite!
At a solid 428 calories per serving and a whopping 17g protein, this hearty lentil salad is the perfect lunchtime fuel, or a light summer dinner.
In fact, this would be a great recipe to incorporate into our vegetarian weight loss meal plan!
Lentil quinoa salad: a salad of superfoods
As a legume, lentils are super healthy and a great addition to a vegetarian diet. They are high in protein, potassium and fibre, and low in sodium and saturated fats.
The combination of high protein and high fibre means that a lentil salad will keep you full for a long time.
Low fat content means that the overall calorie count remains low, so if weight loss is your goal, it could be handy to have a lentil salad recipe to hand (check out these low fat vegan recipes for some vegan options to keep fat levels down)!
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What kind of lentils should I use?
There are many different types of lentils, all of which have similar health benefits. Our lentil quinoa salad calls for red lentils – but even red lentils can be broken down into different varieties ranging in colour from yellow, to orange to actually red.
Look for red lentils in Indian and Middle-eastern stores, where red lentils are called ‘masoor’ and yellow lentils are called ‘channa’.
What’s so great about quinoa?
The other key player in this lentil quinoa salad, is of course, quinoa! Quinoa has become very popular as a superfood over the past few years – and with good cause!
Like lentils, quinoa is also high in protein and fibre.
Unlike many other plant proteins, quinoa is a complete protein. This means it contains all 9 essential amino acids in sufficient quantities. So a quinoa salad is pretty much as healthy as it gets!
Nuts, spinach and other bits and bobs!
What really makes this cold lentil salad recipe POP, both in terms of health and flavour, are all the yummy ingredients that we’ve added to the lentils and quinoa.
You’ve got chopped almonds, for an extra kick of healthy fat to keep you full longer, as well as a crunchy texture to complement the soft grains.
You’ve also got olives, whose rich, salty tang cuts through the milder flavours of the lentils, quinoa and avocado, making a delicious addition. They also lend a kind of mediterranean quinoa salad taste!
A couple of handfuls of spinach brings all the nutrients of leafy greens into the mix. That includes iron, calcium and magnesium!
And finally the avocado! Everyone’s favourite superfood, adding a bit of creamy, healthy avocado is always a good idea, and this lentil quinoa salad is no exception.
Tips and tricks
A good thing about this lentil quinoa salad recipe is that the lentils and quinoa can be cooked together in the same pan. Less washing up!
It is also easily vegan-ized, if you replace honey with agave syrup or any vegan sweetener of your choosing.
And while you’re at it why not make a double batch and keep half in the fridge for the next day? This way you can enjoy it hot and cold, plus with salads like this, the flavours tend to infuse overnight, making it even more delicious the day after!
We hope you enjoy making this lentil quinoa salad!
- Drain and rinse the quinoa and red lentils. Add both to a pot with double the amount of water and a bit of salt or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then set to low heat. Simmer for 15-17 minutes until all water is absorbed / evaporated. Cover and let the mix steam for 5 minutes.¼ cup quinoa, ½ cup red lentils, 1 ⅓ cups vegetable broth
- In a medium sized bowl mix the quinoa, lentils, chopped almonds, chopped green olives, torn baby spinach leaves, chili flakes, and black pepper/salt to taste until incorporated. Then fold in the diced avocado gently, to avoid smashing it.8 almonds, 6 green olives, 2 handfuls baby spinach, ⅓ tsp chili flakes, Salt and pepper to taste, ½ avocado
- In a small bowl or plate mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and salt.2 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp apple vinegar, Salt to taste
- Serve the lentil quinoa salad with the dressing and enjoy.