This Black Lentil Salad features a plethora of fresh herbs – fragrant mint, citrusy coriander and aromatic flat-leaf parsley perfect with the rich earthy flavour of the lentils and the nutty seeds.
A zesty salad that was just perfect for picnics as it travels well. Pair it with an Indian curry, grilled salmon, lamb, pork or any poultry. I made this salad for a picnic feast and served with some spicy lamb kofta and tzatziki.
Preparing your Black Lentil Salad…
Start with the black lentils and while they are simmering, prepare your herbs, seeds and vinaigrette.
For the black lentils…
- Sift through the lentils to remove pebbles or other debris. Discard any lentils that are shrivelled or discoloured.
- Place the lentils in a colander and rinse them under cold running water, they will be clean when the water runs clear.
- Transfer the clean lentils to a pot and add 4 cups of water for the 2 cups of dried lentils (1 cup dry lentils = 2 cups of liquid). Use just enough for the lentils to absorb and cook in so that you don’t lose any nutrients. Add more water if necessary.
- Add 2 pinches of salt (1 pinch for every cup).
- Cover the lentils and bring them to a simmer. Continue to cook them over low heat, stirring occasionally and adding liquid when necessary. Cook until tender approximately 25-30 minutes.
- Remove the lentils from the stove when done, place in a colander and rinse to cool. Strain well.
For the herbs…
1Rinse well in a colander under cold running water, then pat dry.
2Remove the leaves from the stems by holding the stems and either use a chef’s knife to shave the leaves off with the blade pointing away from you. You can leave the more tender stems attached.
3 Gather the leaves in the centre of your board. Start from on one side of the pile and cut through them making only a few deliberate cuts. Gather them again in a pile and cut through them again until roughly chopped.
For the spring onions…
- Rinse under cool water to get rid of any dirt taking special care through the green leaves as this is where dirt accumulates, then pat dry.
- Peel off any wilted or damaged layers and cut off the root end and discard.
- Line up the spring onions on your board and slice through them with a sharp knife for thin slices.
For the toasted sesame seeds…
1Place your sesame seeds in a small dry fry pan on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently until they are golden brown (approximately 3-5 minutes).
2Alternatively, preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Place them on a baking tray lined with baking in the middle section of your oven and roast until golden brown (approximately 8-10 minutes) be careful not to burn them.
3Take them out of the oven and allow to cool.
fragrant mint, citrusy coriander and aromatic flat-leaf parsley perfect with
the rich earthy flavour of the lentils and the nutty seeds.
For the salad…
- 2 cups black lentils1 (dried)
- 2 cups parsley (chopped)
- 1 cup mint (chopped)
- 1 cup coriander (cilantro) (chopped)
- 3 spring onions (sliced)
- 4 tbsps sesame seeds (toasted)
- 1 tbsp Nigella seeds2
- 4 tbsps pistachios (crushed)
For the vinaigrette…
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsps lime juice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
For the garnish…
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds toasted
- 2 tbsps pistachios crushed
- Place your cleaned and sorted black lentils in a saucepan, cover with 4-5 cups cold water and 2 pinches of salt and simmer until tender (approximately 25-30 minutes). Remove to a colander when done and rinse with cold water, transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add all the vinaigrette ingredients in a glass jar and shake until emulsified.
- Place all the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl, pour over the vinaigrette and stir until well combined.
- Arrange the salad in a salad bowl and scatter with the sesame seeds, pistachios and serve immediately.
- You should be able to find black lentils in large supermarkets in the aisle with the other beans and legumes. Alternatively, try a Middle Easter speciality store. They can be substituted with Green lentils. Green lentils take longer to cook, (up to 40-60 minutes in total) and require a lot more water to cook (detailed instructions are in the post).
- Nigella seeds can be found in Middle Eastern food shops or specialty spice shops. They can be substitued with black sesame or poppy seeds.
You will find all of our legume salads here…
Some of our favourites…