Black lentil and baby kale salad

Finding healthy and tasty choices for lunch is not always easy. If you are working it is tempting to eat out which is likely not the best choice. Even if you have a salad, it is often not made with the freshest or healthiest vegetables. If you are at home, often the choice is something quick like a sandwich. This means our lunch probably doesn’t have any vegetables, might not have much protein and probably has too many carbs.

baby kale and black lentil salad fb min

A salad can be quick to prepare, can pack easily and can contain a good combination of healthy vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. 

Lentils are an incredibly healthy food and they are the convenience food of the legume world. Tiny, black lentils are one of the quickest cooking of these already fast cooking foods. Black lentils are also called beluga lentils (since they have a resemblance to beluga caviar) and can be found in most health food stores or East Indian markets. I will often make a larger batch and have them ready in the fridge for a quick addition to a salad. Lentils are high in fibre and protein and also contain antioxidants and iron.

cooked black lentils

You could substitute other lentils if black are not available, but I think the black are perfect in this recipe. They are so much prettier than the brown or French lentils when cooked. They also cook to a nice chewy texture, without any mushiness that other lentils sometimes have. You do have to be careful to not overcook them.

Kale was the trendy health food a few years ago. Its popularity has declined somewhat, but it is still easy to find. For salads I prefer baby kale which is picked when it is young. It has tiny leaves and a milder taste than the more grown up version. Kale is also easy to grow in northern climates. Fresh new leaves are wonderful in a salad. Kale also holds up nicely in this salad, especially if you are packing it, but if kale is not available spinach or chard works as well.

baby kale

This salad makes a great lunch or a light dinner. The lentils cook in about 20 minutes, so even if you don’t have them ready, you can make the whole recipe in a little more than 20 minutes. In fact, I created this recipe on a morning before leaving for work.

I like to keep things simple and adaptable. You could use a commercial dressing on this salad, but a splash of olive oil and a splash of apple cider vinegar is all it needs.

By now you have probably decided its time to make this, so here it is:

Ingredients for one serving:

  • 1/2 cup cooked black lentils
  • 2 cup baby kale
  • 1/4 bell pepper
  • 8 cashews
  • 1/4 avocado (optional)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

If the lentils are not cooked, then cook them while preparing the remaining ingredients. 1/4 cup dry lentils will yield approximately 1/2 cup cooked. Chop the baby kale into bite size pieces. The bell pepper should be cut into small cubes and the cashews, lightly chopped. Add some avocado chunks if you like. If the lentils are hot, then rinse under cold water for a bit. Add the lentils and top with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Mix together and enjoy.

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Baby Kale min