Quick-cooking lentils, sweet potatoes, feta, and kale are tossed in a zippy tahini dressing to create a plant-powered meal brimming with fiber and protein. Enjoy this hearty salad for weekday lunches or a simple weeknight dinner. Lentils, in all their tiny-legume glory, are one of the most humble pantry items. They’re high in fiber, packed with protein, and quick-cooking, making them the perfect addition to hearty weekday soups or salads.
Here, we call for French green lentils because they hold their shape better than ordinary lentils and have a pleasant, peppery flavor with an earthy edge.I learned somewhat of a hack recently for cooking sweet potatoes that dramatically cuts down on cooking time. Parcook them in the microwave with a splash of water to help them steam, and then finish them off in a skillet with a touch of oil until crisp and golden-brown. It works like charm and takes less than half the time as roasting.
With fall right around the corner (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?), this salad is priming my taste buds for winter squash and root veg GALORE. Are you ready??Another hack (thanks to Cooking Light) that helped impart layers of flavor in this salad was letting the shallots and garlic macerate in the dressing for at least 10 minutes before mixing everything together. Don’t skip this step—it really pumps up the flavor!
Feel free to use this tahini dressing on anything from grain bowls to roasted vegetables or grilled chicken. It’s super versatile and can instantly add depth of flavor and unctuous creaminess to foods.This salads holds up beautifully when made in advance. I enjoyed leftovers for lunch two days in a row and it didn’t get the least bit mushy after being refrigerated.
A delicious, nutrient-packed salad in right under 40 minutes—now THIS is how you win the week.
- ½ cup dry French green lentils
- ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
- 2 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes
- 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 3 cups roughly chopped lacinato kale
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. minced shallots
- 1½ Tbsp. tahini (ground sesame paste)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbsp. feta cheese
- 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
- Optional: fresh chopped parsley or basil
- Place lentils in a medium size pot and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain excess water; mix in ¼ tsp. of the salt and vinegar. Set aside to slightly cool.
- While lentils cook, combine 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, tahini, garlic, ¼ tsp. salt, and ⅛ tsp. pepper in a small bowl; whisk to combine. Add 1 Tbsp. water and whisk until smooth. Let stand 10 minutes.
- Place sweet potatoes and 3 Tbsp. water in a microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 3 minutes or until tender. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat remaining 2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add potatoes, cumin, remaining ¼ tsp. salt, and ⅛ tsp. black pepper; cook 6 to 7 minutes, until potatoes are golden-brown and crisp.
- Combine kale, lentils, and sweet potatoes in a large bowl; toss to combine. (The kale should start to slightly wilt from the heat of the lentils and potatoes). Add tahini dressing, feta, and sunflower seeds. Mix well to combine. Add parsley or basil, if desired. Serve warm, chilled, or at room temperature.