Well Being

11 Cold Bean And Lentil Salads For Spring

By  | 

cold lentil salad with pickled onions and spring greens

For lunch yesterday, I had a really delicious cold lentil salad from Argo Tea. I've been thinking lately about how to get more legumes into my diet, considering they're one of the healthiest and cheapest foods around. I don't much care for most warm bean dishes, however; and cold bean salads tend to follow certain boring patterns. But with a little help from Pinterest, I've rounded up 10 interesting lentil and bean recipes that are best served chilled (and filled with the fresh vegetables and herbs of spring).

A note on lentils: Whether brown, pink, green or reddish orange, they all have similar (and superb) nutritional profiles. One cup of lentils contains 18 grams protein, 15 grams fiber and less than one gram of fat, along with ample vitamins (including 90% of your daily recommended value of folate and significant amounts of thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin and B6) and minerals.

The mineral content of lentils is pretty amazing: One serving will net you 37% of your recommended daily intake of iron; 18% of magnesium, 36% phosphorous, 21% potassium, 17% zinc, 25% copper and 49% manganese. Lentils are also good sources of important amino acids such as leucine, tyrosine and tryptophan.

Unlike dried beans, lentils do not need to be presoaked. The easiest method of cooking them is to boil (use three cups water for each cup of lentils). Place lentils in already boiling water; when it returns to boil, turn to low/simmer and cover. Green lentils tend to take longer to cook than pink or orange ones. Depending on the variety, you'll need to cook for 20-30 minutes.

World's Healthiest Foods advises adjusting cooking times slightly depending upon how lentils will be used.

If you are going to be serving lentils in a salad or soup and desire a firmer texture, remove them from the stove top when they have achieved this consistency—typically 5-10 minutes earlier than their usual cooking time. If you are making dal or some preparation that requires a mushier consistency, achieving this texture may take an additional 10-15 minutes.