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Pickled Vegetable + Beluga Lentil Salad
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5 from 2 votes

Pickled Vegetable + Beluga Lentil Salad

This tangy vegan pickled vegetable + beluga lentil salad makes the perfect summer side. Julienned cucumbers, carrots, red bell pepper, red onion, and pepperoncini are marinated in a zippy red wine vinaigrette until they begin to soften and gently pickle. Then, they're tossed with hearty beluga lentils for the ultimate plant-based protein boost. This salad is hearty enough to stand alone as a fresh summer lunch yet light enough to pair with a flavorful veggie burger as a stand-out side dish.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, plant-based, Vegan
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried beluga lentils or black lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 large cucumber, cored and julienned
  • 1 small red onion, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and julienned
  • 2 generous handfuls pepperoncini, stemmed and very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning the salad
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Combine the rinsed lentils and water in a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a rapid boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low to gently simmer. Continue to cook the lentils, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until firm-tender. (Note: older lentils take longer to cook.) Strain the lentils and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, get to work on the vegetables. Add the veggies (i.e., carrots, cucumber, red onion, bell pepper, and pepperoncini) to a large nonreactive (i.e., non-metallic) serving bowl.
  • In a small mixing bowl, vigorously whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, dijon, basil, oregano, sea salt, and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Let the vegetables marinate in the dressing for at least 15 minutes, tossing every few minutes to soften and gently pickle.
  • Once the lentils have cooled slightly, add them to the pickled vegetables and toss to coat. If needed, add more sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Serve warm or chilled.
  • This salad keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If the flavors mellow after refrigerating, brighten them up by adding more red wine vinegar or lemon juice, to taste.