A healthy and delicious Vegan Lentil Salad recipe that’s easy to prepare, high in protein and low in calories!
I am declaring the days of trying to be super-model skinny by any means necessary as officially over! The other day I saw a woman wearing a shirt that read, “Forget skinny, I’m trying to be a badass!” Bravo! Feeling good about our bodies, and what we fuel them with, is so much more important than just looking good but eating crappy.
But for many of us, weight loss is still a goal. Perhaps you long for your younger days when you felt you were naturally at your ideal size and shape. Or maybe you’ve always struggled with weight gain and the yo-yo effects of fad dieting. There’s a whole industry out there making billions off of this very subject. From a chef’s perspective, I’ve noticed an interesting pattern in my own body and in the bodies of my clients: when highly processed foods containing an excessive amount of sugar, fat, calories, and additives are removed from our diet, the pounds tend to shed! Although this may not be every person’s experience, I can’t tell you how many clients have lost weight once I began cooking clean and healthy meals for them. Many did not necessarily seek this out, it just happened.
Most of the time, meals I prepare for my clients are much more nutritional than their previous diets, but also less caloric. Fewer calories, but better nutrition = a happy body 🙂 This is where lentils, our tiny, power-packed friends, come into the picture. Oh, you’re not friends with lentils? Well, you should definitely send them a friend request, especially if weight loss is your goal. Lentils make us feel very full with their high amount of fiber, even though they are pretty low in calories. They are also incredibly rich in folate, magnesium, iron, protein and vitamin B1. So, if you’re trying to slim down, you don’t need to gnaw on baby spinach and carrots all day long; go ahead and whip together my super yummy Lentil Salad! You’ll get about 18 grams of protein, 16 grams of fiber, and only 230 calories for every 1 cup of cooked lentils. Sounds like a deal!
Lastly, Great for Postpartum:
I enjoyed this salad so much in the first few weeks after giving birth! It was October, which meant it was still pretty hot here in Los Angeles, and I found this salad light and refreshing while also packing a nutritional punch. The lentils are high in protein, which my body needed for recovery in combination with nutritional yeast and fatty avocado (that’s a good thing) also helped support breastfeeding. My husband made this Lentil Salad for me several times a week and I would practically lick the bowl clean.
Healthy, Vegan Lentil Salad Recipe
Healthy, Vegan Lentil Salad
Vegan | Gluten-Free | Plant-Based
- 2 and 1/2 cups cooked lentils* about 1 pound
- 1 Tablespoon olive or avocado oil
- 1/2 cup red onion small dice
- 3 pinches sea salt
- 1 small carrot, small dice about 1/2 cup
- 1 cup shredded cabbage red or green
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds I like roasted and salted
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar more if you love vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1 generous pinch sea salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
6 - 8 cups fresh arugula*
Add cooked lentils to a large mixing bowl.
Heat a medium sized skillet with olive oil over medium heat and add the diced onions and a pinch of sea salt. Saute for about 2 - 3 minutes, or until the onions start to soften and get fragrant. Add the diced carrots, another pinch of sea salt and saute for a couple minutes more. Finally add the shredded cabbage and continue to saute until the carrots and cabbage start to soften. About 2 - 3 minutes more.
Add the lemon juice, sunflower seeds, diced avocado, nutritional yeast and another pinch of sea salt and place pepper. Stir to combine.
In a separate small mixing bowl, combine the dressing ingredients.
To serve, place 2 cups of arugula on a plate and top with 1 cup of lentil salad. Drizzle 1 - 2 Tablespoons of dressing over each salad.
Can be served warm or cold.
*Trader Joe's sells cooked lentils found in the produce section that work great with this recipe. If you don't have access to Trader Joe's, cook 1 cup dry lentils according to package instructions.
**You can also use any leafy greens to replace arugula.