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Made with classic fall flavors, this apple lentil salad is exploding with deliciousness! It's vegan, oil-free, gluten-free, and can work as either a side salad or the main dish!
Simple Apple Lentil Salad
Fall flavors are just so comfy, aren't they? Apples, pumpkin, cinnamon, acorn squash, ginger, sage...yum! I paid tribute to a few of those flavors with my stuffed squash recipe, but today we are focusing on APPLES.
Some of my favorite childhood memories involved an apple orchard. I loved to go pick apples with my family, and sometimes my mom would let me invite a friend. One year for my birthday, my mom asked me what I wanted to do. When most girls my age wanted to go shopping, or see a movie, I wanted to go pick apples. I should have known then that my job would involve food, ha.
During my senior year of high school, when I was dating my now-husband, we took him apple picking. I think that was the first and only time he had ever bitten into an apple. I all but forced him. I still can't believe he doesn't like fruit. Thankfully, our son has a deep love for apples like I do!
While I love just straight up biting into an apple, it's always fun to incorporate fruit into other dishes. For this recipe, we are combining apples with another incredible food: lentils. And then we're just TOTALLY jazzing them up with amazing flavors and textures (like fresh herbs, cranberries, pepitas, celery, and apple sage dressing.) Party in your mouth AND gorgeous to look at.
Apple Lentil Salad makes for a great side salad but it is filling enough to satisfy you for lunch, too! You can serve it hot or cold. If you are serving it hot, I'd recommend sautéeing the celery a bit (and maybe even the apples).
Bonus points: You don't need to use the oven to make this apple lentil salad, further making it a great recipe for the holiday season. The oven is notoriously jammed packed on Thanksgiving and Christmas in my house. Even after going vegan, it is always stressful trying to get everything cooked (hey cauliflower roast, scalloped potatoes, and green bean casserole.) I dream of having a double oven!
To make this recipe even quicker, you can buy pre-cooked lentils. A lot of grocery stores carry canned lentils, and Trader Joe's has cooked lentils in the produce area which are super tasty.
Apple Lentil Salad
- Cook the lentils, with the salt, according to the package instructions. Make sure you don't overcook them, you just want them to be tender. I check every minute or two toward the end of the cooking time.
- In the meantime, chop up your apples and toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice. Store in the fridge for now.
- When the lentils are done, drain them and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Stick them in the fridge to cool.
- Once cooled, toss the lentils with the apples and the remaining ingredients. Toss with the dressing (add as much as you want, this is totally based on preference.)
- Let the salad sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. This will allow all the flavors to come together.
- Serve as is, or on a bed of greens like kale or arugula.