Salad

September 19, 2021

French Lentil Salad with Kale and Feta

french lentil salad

I think that a lot of people think they don't like lentils. But, that's probably because they haven't had french lentils, or black lentils. Unlike green, brown or red lentils, french lentils hold their shape. And if you're having them in a salad like this, it's essential to use them so they don't become mushy. I've always been team lentil, but even more so now because they can be used in so many ways. I love crisping them up in the oven after cooking and using them as salad toppers or just eating them on their own, with an egg and all the spices. Hopefully, if you try this french lentil salad, you'll understand why I love them so much too.

Kitchen Inspiration

I've been so inspired lately in the kitchen, which has been good considering how much time I've been spending in it. With things still shut down, I haven't ventured out much, and I limit my grocery trips to once a week. Simply because going out and getting groceries really isn't much fun lately. The overall vibe isn't great in these stores, plus theres lineups. I know this is the least of many peoples problems, so I don't want to even complain. And to be honest, it's made me appreciate what I do have and I've learned to be a lot more creative.

Kitchen and cooking inspiration comes from all sorts of things for me. One of them is definitely watching Bon Appétit videos on YouTube and also just checking their site. For this French lentil salad with kale, I was majorly inspired by this lentil salad recipe of theirs. I knew after the first time I made it, this was going to become a staple for me. It's packed with so MUCH FLAVOUR! And it holds up really well, so it's perfect for meal prep. I kept the base the same, and just changed around some of the spices and omitted a couple things to make it easier to assemble. Definitely, check out the BA recipe as well!

french lentil salad

The Different Type of Lentils

Lentils are part of the legume family, just like beans. But, unlike beans which take a lot longer to cook (and requires soaking), lentils are wayyyy easier. You don't need to soak them, and they cook in about 25 minutes or less. Like I said, I think the reason that a lot of people say they don't like lentils is because they weren't using the right one for the job. Depending on what it is you're cooking and the texture you're after, the lentil you use can vary.

Check out my other lentil dishes like this Instant Pot sausage, kale and lentil soup. Or try this farro and lentil risotto for a high fibre risotto option with lots of mushrooms.

french lentils dried on a plate

Brown and Green Lentils

Use these when you're wanting to make a soup or stew. They split and fall apart after cooking and so they work best when you want that slightly mushier texture. These are typically the most commonly used and the ones you find in stores the most.

Red Lentils

These lentils are most commonly used in Indian curry recipes, such as daal. They turn mushy as well and you can cook them in about 20 minutes. I love using red lentils when I make a spicy coconut soup.

French Lentils (Lentilles du Puy)

My personal favourite lentil of choice. These lentils are much firmer, as they hold their shape due to the thicker skin on them. Because they retain their shape, they have a more crunchy texture and are fantastic for salads. They do take a little longer to cook, usually about 30 to 35 minutes. Another great way to make French lentils is to cook them as usual on the stove and then crisp them in the oven after. I love adding spices to them and cooking them for about 15 minutes in the oven. Just be sure to dry them off after cooking so they can get crispy.

french lentils in a jar

Black Beluga Lentils

Just like the French lentil, these also hold up and retain their shape amazingly well. This makes them ideal for salads as well. They can be harder to find, but if you do, I highly suggest picking some up.

How to Make This French Lentil Salad

Making this french lentil salad with kale is super easy once you have a few things prepped.

Rinse your Lentils

Just like any other grain or bean, you'll want to give your lentils a rinse in water first. While you're rinsing them give them a quick look over to see if you need to pick out any shrivelled lentils, or anything that doesn't quite look right. Apparently, you can find little tiny stones in your packaged lentils! I've been eating lentils for a LONG time, and I've personally never encountered this. But it's good practice to pick them over, especially depending on where the lentils are sourced.

Once they're rinsed, go ahead and add them to a pot of salted boiling water. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes. Check on them to see if they're done cooking. Depending on how old the lentils are, they can take a bit longer to cook. You want them to still be firm on the outside.

Chop Your Kale

I like using lacinato kale for this salad, but if you can only find the curly kind, that'll work too. Wash and dry your kale leaves and then you'll want to finely slice them into long strands. To do this, take some leaves, and roll them into a cigar like shape. Then slice them into ribbons, and then slice those ribbons in half.

lacinato kale

Prepare the Spiced Almond Oil Mixture

The genius of this recipe comes from the spiced almond mixture. I changed up the spices I used from the Bon Appétit recipe and omitted the lemon peel and scallions. And although you may be thinking it's a lot of oil to use to toast your almonds, you're not wasting any of it! You will be using that oil to dress this salad.

almonds on a plate

Prepare the add-in's

Similar to the original BA recipe, I kept the olives and feta. They add a lot of briny flavour that works really well with this recipe. Simply chop the olives and crumble the feta into the bowl with the kale.

french lentil salad

Substitutions For This French Lentil Salad

Kale

Kale definitely holds up the best if you want to be able to store this salad for a day or two. I recommend lacinato kale as it's a little softer than regualr curly kale, but use what you can get.

Lentils

I definitely recommend using french lentils or the black beluga ones. They will hold up the best for this salad. I don't recommend another type of lentil as it will get too mushy.

No Dairy

Although the feta adds a really nice touch and flavour, if you can't have dairy, feel free to omit it. Alternatively, use goat cheese or even finely grated parm if thats what you have.

Spices

I used a mix of fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and chili flakes to add to the almonds. Use what you have on hand. I recommend sticking to these types of flavours, but by all means, you don't need to use all three.  

Olives

If you really hate olives, or just don't have any, you could try another briny flavour like crispy capers. Just fry capers on a non stick skillet for a few minutes (making sure to dry them with a paper towel first). Sun dried tomatoes may also work as well. Or omit them, but the olives do add a lot of flavour!

Almonds

If you don't have almonds, try using another nut or seed. Pumpkin seeds, walnuts or cashews would all work as well.

french lentil salad

How to Meal Prep This French Lentil Salad

The true beauty of this kale and french lentil salad is that it can be made ahead of time and is perfect for meal prep. So if you need a quick lunch idea, prep this the night before.

You really don't need to do anything different to pack it for lunch. Yup, no need to store the dressing separate at all. Kale holds up when dressed, so this salad will hold up in your fridge for a few days.

Alright, are you ready to make this delicious, meal prep friendly french lentil salad with kale?

If you make this recipe, please let me know by tagging me on Instagram, or leave a comment and/or review below!

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French Lentil Salad with Kale and Feta

A delicious, hearty salad with french lentils, kale, and a savoury spiced almond oil dressing. Perfect for meal prep!

Prep:
10
min
cook:
35
min
total:
0
min
Author:

Jaclyn

Ingredients


Instructions


  1. Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are cooked through and slightly al dente. Once finished cooking, drain any excess water remaining through a sieve.
  2. Meanwhile, while the lentils are cooking prepare the almond oil dressing. In a skillet over medium-low heat, add the extra virgin olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic and cook while stirring for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the almonds and cook for an additional 3 minutes, until just slightly toasted. Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and chili flakes and turn the heat off.
  3. Place a small sieve over a small bowl and drain the nut mixture, reserving the oil for later. Place the almonds and spices on a paper towel lined plate and add a pinch of sea salt to them.
  4. Taking a few slices of kale at a time, roll them into a cigar shape and then slice into thin ribbons. Then slice again to cut long ribbons in half. Place in a large salad bowl. Add a tablespoon of the spiced oil to the kale and massage with your hands, until the kale is softened.
  5. Add the kalalmata olives to the kale salad along with the lentils, feta and the toasted almond mixture. Squeeze the lemon juice on top, along with the zest from the lemon, toss and serve. Or store in a container for a meal prep ready salad.

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January 19, 2022
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Susan Renee Hennings
January 12, 2022
Yes, I like it a lot. Lentils are nutritious and inexpensive.
Carole
January 2, 2022
I’m just learning about adaptogens and trying to incorporate them into my “healthy arsenal”. Thanks for the info!
MAdeleine
December 27, 2021
This is the first cinnamon roll recipe i've actually gotten to work! I let the dough rest in the fridge for 4-5 hours and then rolled and filled it, then let it rest in the fridge over night and it worked great for an early morning bake. I looked through the whole recipe and you never mention what temperature to bake at. It just says "place in your preheated oven to bake" I baked at 350. Also it would be really nice if the caramel sauce recipe was included here. All in all totally delicious, worth the effort, and I will be making this again.