Sunday, November 14, 2010

Recipe for Lebanese Lentil Salad with Garlic, Cumin, Mint, and Parsley

I'm still experimenting with new ideas for South Beach Diet friendly Thanksgiving Recipes, but you can't eat nothing but Thanksgiving side dishes every day even if you're blogging about them, and this Lebanese Lentil Salad is something I'd happily eat all year round. I served this as a side dish with the Pan-Fried and Roasted Pork Chops with Apricot-Mustard Sauce, and I think it would also make a great take-to-work lunch salad. The recipe was adapted from Garlicky Lebanese Lentil Salad in Saveur October 2010, but after I made their version the first time, I changed the proportions a bit for a result with less oil and more lemon to fit my lemon-loving tastebuds.

I used green lentils for this, but if you only have brown lentils I think they would also work well. Rinse the lentils and cook them in 3 cups water for 25-30 minutes, or until lentils are tender. (Brown lentils will cook a bit more quickly.)

My garlic cloves were fairly large so I used 10 cloves to make this much very finely minced garlic. (Mince the garlic as finely as possible for this; if it's not finely minced enough the garlic flavor will be too strong.)

Heat 2 T olive oil and saute the garlic at very low heat for about 7-8 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant but barely starting to get some color. While garlic is cooking, finely chop the mint and parsley.

When the lentils are done, drain them well and return to the pan.

Whisk together the lemon juice, other 2 T olive oil, ground cumin, and ground allspice.  (I did hear from a reader who found this salad to be too lemony, so if you're not a big lemon fan you might want to reduce the amount of lemon juice slightly.)

Add the lemon juice mixture to the sauteed garlic and heat for about 1 minute.

Pour the warm dressing over the lentils and stir to gently combine so all the lentils are coated with the dressing mixture.

Stir in the chopped mint and parsley and season the salad well with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Lebanese Lentil Salad with Garlic, Cumin, Mint, and Parsley
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe adapted from Garlicky Lebanese Lentil Salad in Saveur October 2010.)

1 C green lentils (or use brown lentils, which will cook a bit more quickly)
2 T + 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
10-12 cloves garlic, very finely minced (use more or less to taste and depending on the size of the garlic cloves)
finely chopped fresh mint
finely chopped fresh parsley
(use about 1/2 to 1 cup fresh herbs, depending on availability and how much you like fresh herbs)
4 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (or slightly less if you're not a big lemon an like I am)
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Rinse lentils and pick out broken ones or any small stones. Put lentils in small pan with 3 cups water, bring to a boil, then simmer gently until lentils are tender, about 25-30 minutes. (Actual cooking time will depend on the freshness of the lentils. Older lentils will take longer to cook.)

While lentils cook, very finely minced 10-12 fresh garlic cloves. Heat 2 T olive oil in small frying pan, add garlic, and saute over very low heat until garlic is very fragrant but barely starting to get some color, about 7-8 minutes. Turn off heat.

While garlic cooks, finely chop desired amount of fresh mint and parsley. Whisk together lemon juice, other 2 T olive oil, ground cumin and ground allspice.

When lentils are tender, drain well and return to the pan. Turn heat back on under pan with the garlic, add lemon juice dressing mixture and heat about 1 minute. Pour heated dressing over the lentils, then gently stir to combine so all the lentils are well-coated with the dressing.

Stir in fresh herbs, then season the salad well with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This salad will keep in the fridge for a day or two, but leftovers will taste best if you let them come to room temperature. You may want to add some fresh squeezed lemon juice to brighten the flavor when you eat it.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Salads made with dried beans or lentils are a great low-glycemic choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet. However, for phase one, portions should be limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup dried beans. Since this salad is mostly lentils, keep that in mind and make serving sizes small.

More Lentil Dishes to Eat All Year Long:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Mujadarra (Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions) from Kalyn's Kitchen
Indian Spiced Lentils from Kalyn's Kitchen
Black Bean and Lentil Salad with Red Bell Pepper, Cumin, and Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen
Eggplant Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses from Simply Recipes
French Green Lentil Salad from David Lebovitz
Curried Lentil Risotto from Just Bento
Spanish Lentils and Mushrooms from Herbivoracious
Sweet Potato, Lentil, and Raisin Stew from The Perfect Pantry
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. I'd happily serve this for Thanksgiving, or any other time. I've still got mint and parsley in my garden, too.

  2. This lentil salad looks very nice. Like Lydia, I also have parsley and mint from my little garden. Lentils are so good and also healthy. Thanks for the great recipe.

  3. Lydia and Simona, I really liked the salad. Hope you guys will try it.

  4. Kalyn, I recently discovered your site. Thanks so much for all the recipes. I'm anxious to try this one, but wanted you to know the link to the printer-friendly version of the recipe doesn't work as it should.

  5. This is great . I do have these herbs in my garden and will be trying very soon . We make a similar looking salad ( with different dressing ) with black chickpeas and with lentils i think it will be great...

  6. I´m on my way out to buy lentils! This looks delicious and I am sure it tastes the same.

  7. I would actually be really happy to eat this at Thanksgiving. But I'm a lentil lov-ah, what can I say.

  8. I appreciate the nice feedback about the recipe; thanks everyone. I fixed the printer friendly link, thanks Karen for letting me know about that.

  9. This is excellent timing! I had been just thinking about some alternatives for Thanksgiving dinner too which would be suitable for my husband and I to eat. This looks great!

  10. What a yummy sounding recipe. Love anything with cumin! I'll probably sub lime juice for the lemon juice as our lime tree is in overdrive right now!

  11. just wanted to let you know i've recently found your blog, and have really enjoyed your recipes lately! i shared a couple on my blog, hope that's okay!

    definitely looking forward to trying this one; lentils is another new frontier for me. :)

  12. Liz I enjoyed this as a side dish for pork chops, so I can't see why you couldn't eat it with turkey.

    Susie, lucky you to have a lime tree.

    Erin, generally I don't mind people sharing my recipes as long as there is a link to the recipe on my blog, thanks.

  13. This salad looks amazing! I tend to overcook my lentils (subsequently, we eat a lot of dahl), so I'll have to watch them closely to reproduce this one. Thanks for posting:)

  14. What a pretty photo, Kalyn! I don't cook with lentils often enough, but always enjoy their texture and ability to take on the flavors of the spices and herbs they're mixed with.

  15. Kim, glad you liked it. I need to make dal more often, love it!

    Dara, thanks. I find this type of dish very hard to photograph!

  16. That recipe looks delicious! As a lentil lover, this is a perfect dish.

  17. CJ, another lentil lover here too!

  18. I am going to make a special trip to buy green lentils...this is my favorite kind of food to keep around so that I don't decimate the little bags of chips intended for the boys' lunches... Thank you!

  19. It's beautiful! I don't think I can wait till Turkey day!

  20. This looks so gorgeous, I have people for dinner on Friday and am doing a mezze, will definitely be doing this salad as part of it now. I found you on Vegolicious & really like all your recipes, I'm on there too. Will put you on my blogroll, thanks for the inspiration!

  21. Natalie, thanks! Glad to know you're enjoying the blog. Will check out your blog too.

  22. I believe that this dish indeed must have tasted totally out of the ordinary. The combination of ingredients is very unique. I would love to try it!

  23. Love the idea of this lentil salad, though I'd probably add some veggies to suit it to my taste.

  24. Yes, I can think of a few veggies that would be lovely added to this.

  25. Oh, this is for me, tagging it right away. Love lentils and all of those flavorings. Beautiful photos, too, and love the step-by-step.

  26. We did a French lentil salad with sausages that was excellent. It was flavored with thyme and bay leaves, and drizzled with a vinaigrette. I still remember that taste.

    Thanks for bringing back that taste memory!

  27. Nate, I can tell I'd love that version too. I could probably live on lentils.

  28. Kalyn, this was absolutely amazing - very tasty, quick and easy, healthy and cheap. I ate it as a main dish and it did not leave me wanting for anything more. I will definitely make this recipe again in the next few weeks.

  29. Peter, so glad you liked it. I also loved this salad.

  30. just had this tonight and was a hit! so yummy. i made with your recipe for sliced cauliflower and olive dressing. delish. we ate as main dish but next time will serve with a nice meat or fish. it will be made again and again. thanks for another winner...

  31. Hi Kalyn, I made this lentil salad last week. I loved it!

    Thanks for all the delicious recipes.

  32. Emily, you're welcome! So glad you liked it.

  33. Wonderful! I just made a big batch and will be having it for lunch at work!

  34. Found this via Pinterest and made it. Delicious! I added some fresh cut tomatoes at the end for some color, but otherwise followed exactly.

    1. I love this salad; so glad you enjoyed it. Tomatoes sound like s nice addition.


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