I don't know about you, but I have the hardest time eating salads in the winter. I am not motivated at all to eat cold vegetables. The cold makes me ache for soups, stews, roasted vegetables, anything cooked rather than raw. But this salad is different...
Loaded with satisfying lentils, crunchy green beans, toasted pecans, and creamy avocado, this salad feels like the wool sweater equivalent of your summer salad.
This salad has a hearty base of french lentils - the ones that hold their shape when cooked, and offer a substantial and satisfying chew. I usually choose baluga or le puy varieties, since they are easy to find and always hold up well. I love serving this salad warm in the cold seasons, or chilled when the weather heats up.
Lentils are a super healthy ingredient to add to your diet, if you aren't eating them frequently already. They are loaded with vegan protein, which fills you up and gives you energy. They also are quite high in fiber which works alongside the protein to keep you satisfied until your next meal or snack. Fiber is also great to decrease bloating (just be sure to drink plenty of water!), improve cardiovascular health, and keep your GI tract functioning at it's best.
The dressing is a super simple blend of avocado oil (oh, hello there, healthy fats!) and pomegranate molasses. I have always found pomegranate molasses easily at ethnic or health food stores, but you could substitute with a 50/50 blend of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar for that same tangy/sweet vibe. I keep pomegranate molasses on hand as a quick glaze for baked chicken, to drizzle on roasted vegetables with some torn mint, or even blended with soda water for a mocktail!
I love adding all of the herbs to this salad - anything I have on hand I'll put in. I usually end up using chives, parsley, basil, mint, thyme and oregano. Herbs can bring such a bright flavor to any dish, which I particularly am grateful for when temperatures dip.
This salad is also a great option to make ahead for the week. You can make and assemble the entire recipe and keep for up to 5 days, just keep the toasted pecans on the side and add just before serving to keep that nice crunch ;)
Lentil and Green Bean Salad with Avocado and Pecans
Created by: Stephanie Rink, MS, RD, LDN
1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups french black lentils
2 cups water
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup avocado oil
1 cup of mixed chopped herbs
1 avocado, diced
In a medium sized pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the lentils and water - make sure the lentils are just barely covered by the water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain out any excess water.
While the lentils are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanche the green beans in the boiling water for 1 minute, so they are tender but still quite crunchy. Drain.
Toast the pecans. Preheat an oven to 400ºF (205ºC). Put the pecans on a baking sheet, and let them toast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes until dark brown and fragrant. Check frequently so they don’t get too dark!
Make the dressing. Combine pomegranate molasses and avocado oil, whisking until combined.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked lentils, green beans, pecans, dressing, herbs and avocado. Stir until well combined, and serve.
Note: If you are making the salad ahead, reserve the toasted pecans and add just before serving so they stay crispy.
p.s. Click on the recipe to save or print!