Lentil Salad with Kale and Mushrooms Lentil Salad with Kale and Mushrooms

This lentil salad right here is a bowl full of health.  Lentils are off the chart on a number of awesome nutrients, including molybdenum, folate, copper, phosphorus and iron. (Sometimes I seriously wonder how something so boring looking can be so incredibly full of good stuff.)  Throwing in the kale and portobello mushrooms makes this salad a pretty epic dish of vitamins and minerals galore.  Need a pick-me-up?  Put down the 5-hour energy and make this for dinner.

Not that that’s the only reason to eat it.  The secret to this dish being super delicious is the tangy Dijon and apple cider vinegar vinaigrette.  There is something about this vinaigrette and lentils that is just harmonious.  There’s this tangy-savory dance going on.  I frequently make this dish with a little bacon, but this vegan version using mushrooms is just as good – and it’s all because of the vinaigrette.

These are regular old el cheapo green lentils, which actually look quite brown.  Other lentils are more beautiful and some, like red lentils, cook faster.  But in general I enjoy green lentils just fine, especially in a salad like this.

For the full fabulous week of meals, and a convenient shopping list and planner that’ll help you save time, sign up for the Eat Happy Meal Plan here.

Recipe:  Warm Lentil and Kale Salad with Portobello Mushrooms
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Total Prep Time: 45 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Serves:  4

 Ingredients
1 ½ cup lentils*
1 small onion, minced
1 bunch kale, think stems removed
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced or grated garlic, from about 2 cloves
2 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 lb baby Portobello mushrooms, quartered or cut into ½ inch cubes if large
2 bay leaves
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh sieve.  Put them in a medium-large pan that has a tight-fitting lid, and cover with several inches of water.  Add the bay leaves.  Bring to a simmer then cover and cook for about 25-35 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile whisk together the dressing: 1/3 cup EVOO, the mustard, vinegar, thyme, garlic, and pinches of salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  3. Saute the mushrooms in a drizzle of EVOO and a pinch of salt in a large fry pan, over medium heat, until they release their moisture and are slightly caramelized, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the onions and saute until they are softened and a little caramelized as well, about 5-8 more minutes.  Reduce the heat if anything starts to stick too much to the bottom of the pan, or deglaze it with a couple tablespoons of water.
  4. Remove the thick stems from the kale.  Finely chop the kale into at least bite-sized pieces, but ideally smaller, with a sharp knife.
  5. Add the kale to the lentils for the last 3 minutes of cooking time, just to wilt the kale until it’s tender.
  6. Drain the lentils and kale of all the cooking liquid and remove the bay leaves.  Return them to the pan and add the dressing and onions and mushrooms.  Turn the heat back on in the pan and cook just until the flavors meld together, a minute or two.  Taste the lentils and add salt and pepper, if needed.  Serve as is, or for a more filling version try topping with an over-easy egg.  I also enjoy this with fresh tomato wedges, as pictured.