Salads aren’t just lettuce and dressing. A really good salad is one that considers personal tastes with a few secrets on how to make just the right salad to pique your tastebuds. This Lentil and Kale Salad is made from two hearty ingredients, defying the stereotype of a bland, conventional salad. Lentils paired with a sturdy leafy green like kale become a salad that can stand alone as a meal just as well as it does as a side dish.
Lentils remind me almost of pasta with its al dente bite that renders a generousness to the salad’s composition. Tuscan kale, known for its long dark green leaves, is nutrient-dense and generally considered good roughage. The powers of these two ingredients combined make for one amazing salad! The cooked lentils are set aside to cool so that they don’t wilt the kale; we want to retain that firmness from the hearty leaves.
But, I do want to treat the leaves in a different way, and this is an unskippable step. I’ll take a few minutes to massage the lemon juice into the kale. The lemon juice will break down and soften the kale just a bit, while also serving as part of the salad’s dressing.
To truly bring this salad to the center stage, I’m going to bring in a few extra players. Toasted almonds for obvious nuttiness, feta cheese for a creamy-salty bite, and briny olives for that little punch to the back of the tastebuds. I think the olive oil sautéed green onions take this to a whole new level, too. It’s a delicious way to add even more flavor to the finished dish.
Give the salad a quick taste to see if you want more salt or pepper, but this artfully arranged Lentil and Kale Salad is going to change what you think a salad should or could be.
Lentil and Kale Salad is hearty enough to stand alone as a meatless meal just as much as it serves as a beautiful side dish to a main meal. I think that the flavor is obviously one reason why I love this salad but I also love it because it looks so darn good! We definitely eat with our eyes, not just our smell and taste, so making visually beautiful food is one way to really captivate the appetite.
Lentil and Kale Salad is from the Flavors of Morocco menu at Table for 12. It is served with Crispy Phyllo Prawn Cigars, Lamb Stew with Spiced Chickpeas, Steamed Couscous with Brown Butter and Herbs, and an Orange Cardamom Cake.
Lentil and Kale Salad
10m prep time
20m cook time
- 1 bunch tuscan kale, stemmed & chiffonade
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 4 (½ bunch) green onions, separated white and green parts, sliced thin on bias
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups black or green lentils
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 4 oz. feta, cumbled
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup Beldi olives, halved
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes *optional*
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt then add in the lentils. Lower heat to medium and let lentils simmer for 20 - 25 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander and let cool on a sheet tray.
- Cook white part of scallions and garlic in a skillet over medium high heat, with olive oil for 2 minutes.
- Add cumin seeds and toast for 1 minute.
- Drain from the pan and place onto a paper towel. Season the onion mixture with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Massage kale with lemon juice in a bowl until kale starts to wilt.
- Add lentils, crumbled feta, olives,*optional cherry tomatoes, toasted almonds to the bowl and toss. Season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange salad on a platter and sprinkle onion mixture over. Enjoy!
This recipe is from the Flavors of Morocco menu at Table for 12.