vegan arugula lentil salad with cumin toasted pine nuts oven-roasted tomatoes and avocado

Arugula Lentil Salad with Cumin Toasted Pine Nuts {Vegan}

This arugula lentil salad with is a nutritional powerhouse.  Made with oven roasted tomatoes, avocado and cumin toasted pine nuts, this salad is a delicious combination of chewy, creamy and crunchy textures and sweet, salty and tangy flavors.  Delicious and yet filling, it makes a great lunch or dinner accompaniment.

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vegan arugula lentil salad with cumin toasted pine nuts, oven roasted tomatoes, and avocados

I often make the main components of this arugula lentil salad ahead.  I roast the tomatoes while also roasting veggies for another meal (like my family’s favorite hidden-veggie chili).  The lentils can be cooked multiple days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.  And I try to always have some Lemon Tahini Salad Dressing in my refrigerator to add to a quick lunch or dinner salad.

This recipe serves 4 to 6 people.

Arugula Lentil Salad Recipe

arugula lentil salad with cumin toasted pine nuts, oven roasted tomatoes and avocado
5 from 8 votes
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Arugula Lentil Salad with Cumin Toasted Pine Nuts {Vegan}

Chewy lentils, crunchy and salty toasted pine nuts, sweet oven roasted tomatoes, creamy avocado, and arugula topped with a tangy lemon tahini dressing.

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6 people
Calories 266 kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Arugula baby, washed (4 oz)
  • 1/4 cup French green lentils uncooked or 1 cup cooked
  • 1 pint Tomatoes* cherry or grape
  • 2 tbsp Avocado oil olive oil can also be used
  • 1/4 cup Pine nuts
  • 2 tsp Cumin seed whole
  • 2 Avocados medium size, diced or sliced
  • 2 tbsp Tahini
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt plus more to taste

Instructions

Cook Lentils

  1. Simmer lentils in 4 cups water until they are tender and have absorbed most of the water, about 20 to 25 minutes

  2. Drain any excess water after lentils have cooked, and cool to room temperature or refrigerate until needed

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F

  2. Cut tomatoes in half and toss with 1 tbsp avocado oil.  Place on parchment paper lined roasting sheet, cut side up

  3. Lightly sprinkle tomatoes with sea salt and place in oven 

  4. Roast for 1 hr and then let cool to room temperature.  If not using immediately, roasted tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

Cumin Toasted Pine Nuts

  1. Combine whole cumin seed, pine nuts, and 1 tbsp avocado oil in a small frying pan or cast iron pan

  2. Toast over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until cumin is fragrant and pine nuts are starting to brown lightly

  3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature

Prepare Lemon Tahini Dressing

  1. Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt in a medium size bowl.  Set aside or refrigerate until needed

Assemble the Salad

  1. Add washed arugula to salad bowl, top with cooked lentils and oven roasted tomatoes

  2. Dice or slice avocado and add to salad

  3. Sprinkle cumin toasted pine nuts on top of salad and drizzle with with Lemon Tahini Dressing.  Toss salad and serve

*Note: Tomatoes consistently test positive for pesticide residues, including organophosphate pesticides.  That is why I choose to buy organic or pesticide free tomatoes.  Read more about pesticides and produce.

Why this Arugula Lentil Salad is a nutritional powerhouse:

1. Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable

Did you know that arugula is cruciferous vegetable?  Yes!  Arugula is in the same veggie family as broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.  So make sure you keep this nutritious green veggie in your salad-making rotation.  Baby arugula has a milder flavor than full grown arugula, which can taste peppery.

2. Lentils and Avocados are good sources of fiber1

3. Lentils, arugula and avocados are good sources of potassium2

4. The healthy fats in this salad will help you absorb more of the fat soluble vitamins in the vegetables

First of all, yes, avocado, tahini, pine nuts and olive oil are all healthy sources of fat, and some fats are now considered part of a healthy diet.  Did you know that your body needs fat to help the absorb fat-soluble vitamins found in vegetables?  And research has shown that there is a proportional relationship between the amount of fat included in a salad and the amount of vitamins absorbed.

Tested and delicious substitutions:

  • Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes are a delicious substitution for oven roasted tomatoes if you are short on time (use about ~ 1/2 cup)
  • Pre-cooked lentils are available at Trader Joe’s and can be used in place of the French lentils (there will be a slight compromise in texture and flavor, but the salad is still delicious)
  • Sprouted lentils can be used in place of cooked lentils and add a delicious, crunchy texture.  I like adding uncooked sprouted lentils, though you can quickly steam them if you like.

Pin recipe for later:

arugula lentil salad with cumin toasted pine nuts

References:

  1. Food Sources of Fiber, 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Appendix 13 (link)
  2. Food Sources of Potassium, 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Appendix 10 (link)

16 Comments

  1. Such a pretty salad, and full of so much goodness! Thank you for the nice lunch change up!

  2. Could this salad be MORE STUNNING?? I don’t think so! This is gorgeous!! That avocado!!

  3. What a nutritious salad! Love all the gorgeous colors.

  4. Oh my but that looks delicious!!!

  5. my neighbor passed some green lentils tome, and I have been wondering what to do with them!! Nice!

  6. I always think of pine nuts with basil, but I love the idea of mixing them with cumin! One of my favorite flavors!

    • Thanks Lindsey! Cumin is definitely a staple seasoning in our house. BTW – the cumin toasted pine nuts are also an AMAZING hummus topping!

  7. You had me at cumin toasted pine nuts! I’m also a big fan of having salad components made ahead. Your avocado rosettes are pretty impressive, too!

    • Thank you Cathy! The avocado rosettes are functional too… less exposure to air and slower avocado browning! Though, in a time crunch, I usually just chop up the avocado and toss it in the salad right before serving.

  8. Perfect for my meatless Mondays! Those avocado rosettes and simply divine!

  9. I love arugula so much. I had a few years after I was pregnant where I had a huge aversion to it, but now I’m back in full-force arugula love, so this recipe has come at the perfect time!

  10. Love all the avocado roses. Such a pretty way to add healthy fats in a salad. Plus pine nuts are my favorite bc they remind me of Siberia/ where i was born and raised . Thank you!

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