I’ll let you in on a little secret about salads … texture is KEY. Take this Crunchy Lentil Salad, for example. It’s all about the crunch! Without it, it would be just another boring salad. The flavor in this salad is also unreal because of the garlic, lemon zest, and cumin seeds. And the vegan feta adds the perfect of touch of creaminess!
Adapted from Bon Appetit
10 ounces baby spinach or other greens
½ cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
3 scallions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 lemon, 3 long strips peeled from the zest
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups black beluga or French green lentils
1 tablespoons cumin seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
5 ounces Violife vegan feta
1 cup Castelvetrano olives
Bring about 6 cups of salted water in a medium pot to a boil, and add lentils. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking until tender, 15-25 minutes. Once cooked, strain, cool, and set aside.
Add olive oil, chopped almonds, sliced scallions, garlic, and lemon peel to a skillet over medium-low heat, and cook until garlic is golden. Add cumin seeds, and crushed red pepper and stir, cooking for another few minutes. Remove from heat, and strain the spiced oil, into a container, and set aside. On a plate with a paper towel, spread out the strained almond mixture, removing the garlic and lemon peel.
Crumble vegan feta into a mixing bowl with spinach. Tear olives into large pieces and add to bowl. Add the juice of the peeled lemon and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the cooled lentils and reserved spiced oil, tossing to coat.
To serve, add salad to bowls or plates, and top with crunchy almond mixture. Enjoy!