Cucumber Tomato and Lentil Salad
Most gardens are overflowing with fresh produce right now.
One of my favorites is good old-fashioned cucumber tomato salad in red wine vinaigrette. It’s simple, light, and delicious and rarely needs anything extra.
But every now and then I feel like I need a heartier side dish. Something that will pair well with a steak or a plate of smoked ribs, yet will still be light and refreshing.
It couldn’t be easier than adding some healthy cooked and cooled lentils to your cucumber tomato salad!
Lentils are legume that lend a nutty flavor and delightful texture to many dishes. You are probably most familiar with them in soups, but they have so many other uses! I even like to cheat a little by using pre-cooked lentils, which makes this dish even simpler to make! It doesn’t get any easier than this to get a healthy and hearty side dish on the table in minutes!
Cucumber Tomato and Lentil Summer Salad
- 1 package of pre-cooked lentils or 1 cup cooked and cooled lentils (follow package directions)
- 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
- ½ to 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- ½ of a red or sweet onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar or to taste
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for at least one hour if possible.
Health Benefits of Lentils
- Lentils are a great source of vegan protein.
- Lentils are high in satiating fiber.
- Lentils may lower cholesterol due to their high fiber content.
- Lentils are a good source of folate, copper, manganese, zinc, and vitamins B1 and B6.
If you’re trying to get healthy or lose weight, one of the best things you can do is swap starchy and overly processed side dishes for less processed, whole-plant-based foods. In many cases, you can sub lentils, whole wheat berries, pearl barley, farro, freekeh, or other grains or beans for the rice, pasta, or potatoes in your favorite side dishes.
The key to getting healthy lies not in trying to change your life overnight, but making small, sustainable changes that will add up over time. Swapping a healthier plant-based side dish for your regular processed pasta just once or twice a week is one simple way to start!
Keep and open mind and start experimenting with new foods!