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.
I often make the main components of this arugula lentil salad ahead of time. 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
Chewy lentils, crunchy and salty toasted pine nuts, sweet oven roasted tomatoes, creamy avocado, and arugula topped with a tangy lemon tahini dressing.
- 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
Simmer lentils in 4 cups water until they are tender and have absorbed most of the water, about 20 to 25 minutes
Drain any excess water after lentils have cooked, and cool to room temperature or refrigerate until needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Cut tomatoes in half and toss with 1 tbsp avocado oil. Place on parchment paper lined roasting sheet, cut side up
Lightly sprinkle tomatoes with sea salt and place in oven
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
Combine whole cumin seed, pine nuts, and 1 tbsp avocado oil in a small frying pan or cast iron pan
Toast over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until cumin is fragrant and pine nuts are starting to brown lightly
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature
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
Add washed arugula to salad bowl, top with cooked lentils and oven roasted tomatoes
Dice or slice avocado and add to salad
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.
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