Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach

 Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach

At first, I wasn’t going to post about this meal. I started out following Grab a Plate’s lentil salad recipe for dinner one night, but turned it into something slightly different when I didn’t feel like making yet another roasted red pepper dressing. It came out amazing, but I still thought maybe I didn’t need to blog about it.

Then Nate went back for seconds. And in case you didn’t know, that is rare enough to qualify a recipe as blog-worthy 100% of the time.

Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach

So here we are with this weeknight lentil salad. It fits the mold for what I’ve been making so often this spring (grain or green + roasted vegetables + sauce or dressing), but with one thing that sets it apart: To me this feels very much like a recipe rather than a loose set of suggestions (the opposite of my usual salad posts)… because I wouldn’t change a single thing.

The sweet roasted peppers, the acidic dressing, the way the creamy goat cheese melts into the lentils… nope, it’s perfect exactly the way it is.

Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach

I love using red lentils here because of their quick cooking time. Dinner can be on the table in just over half an hour, start to finish! And even that time is reduced significantly if you buy jarred roasted red peppers or have the foresight to roast them ahead of time, which clearly I never do.

I can’t decide whether I prefer this salad hot or cold, so I’ve been compromising by eating it hot for dinner, and then cold for lunch the next day. I recommend you do the same!

Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach

4.7 from 3 reviews
Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach
 
Hands-on time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Yields: 3
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 3 red bell peppers, quartered (or jarred roasted red peppers)
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 3 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First, roast the peppers. (If you are using jarred roasted red peppers, skip to the next step!) Preheat your broiler. Lay quartered peppers, skin up, on a baking sheet. (I like to cover my baking sheet with foil for easier clean-up.) Broil until skin of peppers is completely charred, which will depend on your broiler, probably about 6-8 minutes. You want the skins to be totally black! Remove from oven and immediately place peppers in a large ziploc bag and seal. Set aside for 10 minutes to steam. (This can also be done ahead of time.)
  2. Add lentils and 1 1/2 cups water to a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender but not mushy, 15-20 minutes. [Edit: Some readers have said the lentils were fully cooked by 10 minutes. Check them at 10 minutes!] Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and stir in spinach. Cover and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by blending all ingredients together.
  4. After peppers have steamed for 10 minutes, remove from bag. Peel the charred skins off and discard. It's OK if some charred bits remain - we're not going for perfection! Chop into bite-sized pieces and stir into the spinach and lentils.
  5. To serve, top spinach/lentil/pepper mixture with goat cheese and dressing. Enjoy hot! This also makes awesome cold leftovers.
Notes
For a heartier option, serve over short pasta such as fusilli. Adapted from Grab A Plate.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I love lentils and somehow just never end up making them very often. This recipe sounds amazing, can’t wait to try it out!
    PS, is that an old mustard jar you have your dressing in? If so, lady you have the best taste in mustard ever. It’s my super favorite kind.

    • Erica says

      Yes it is an old mustard jar! The store I worked at in college sold that mustard. I use the empty ones for juice glasses (and dressing, apparently)!

  2. says

    So gorgeous! I’d definitely call this a recipe. Anything that permits me healthy deliciousness without having to use my brain is the BEST recipe in my opinion! I love these types of meals, keep em coming!

  3. says

    We are definitely on the same wave length. I can’t get enough grain +green +sauce recipes in my body. I just love them! This particular salad is calling my name because I don’t cook with lentils nearly enough. The combination of the dressing, the goat cheese and all those lovely lentils. I need to make this ASAP!!

  4. says

    Hey there Erica! I was just perusing the list of attendees for Blend this weekend and thought I’d hope on over here and say hi! Your photos are fantastic…love all the colors! And goat cheese with roasted anything is definitely a winner in my book! Yum!

  5. Lesley K. says

    My husband and I enjoyed your recipe for lunch on the porch today. Roasting the peppers and peeling them went so well. The smell was fantastic. But I didn’t do so well cooking the lentils. I set the timer for 17 minutes. At 10 minutes the lentils were almost all mush….it happened so fast! Well, I was so hungry we ate them in a mushy state. Otherwise lunch on the porch was a delicious event. …thank you.

    • Erica says

      Hi Lesley, glad you enjoyed this, but sorry to hear about the lentils. I will update the recipe to reflect this. Thanks for your note!

  6. Marcia says

    Erica, I’ve got some black lentils (or French lentils) I’d like to try. Do you think this recipe would work well with them? I love lentils, but they aren’t my husband’s favorite. He is willing to keep trying them though so that’s a good sign. He does love goat cheese and is happy to put it on a variety of things. Now he can add this salad to his list! Thank you.

    • Erica says

      Hi Marcia, yes, black lentils would definitely work here! Hope this makes your husband into a lentil-lover :) You’re right, the lentils in this picture do look really red. I wouldn’t say mine always look like that, but I’m not sure if it depends on cook time or just the particular batch of lentils.

  7. Marcia says

    Oops! Forgot something! I noticed your lentils still look red but mine never do (after cooking). Does this mean I’m cooking them too long? Thanks again.

  8. Victoria says

    Loved this recipe! Absolutely delicious…but I agree…those lentils will sneak up on you! Had to throw away my first batch. Thanks for sharing!

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