This Black Lentil Fennel Salad is succulent and refreshing, not to mention it’s very healthy. There is great texture from the Beluga lentils, which happens to be my favorite lentil for salads due to its heartiness. There is a wonderful crunchiness from the fennel and bell peppers. Last but not least, it has an amazing flavor combination from the tangerine and Asiago. It’s the perfect salad to bring to a pot luck!
Our friends were coming to visit us for a beach day. I decided this would be the perfect beach day salad. I brought this salad down for our picnic, along with an assortment of cheeses, fruits, crackers and wine and it was perfect!
This salad is pretty easy to make. I will often prepare the dressing and shred the cheese the day ahead and then all I have left is to cut the veggies and toss it all together.
This salad is perfect with a sparkling wine like a Cava, Prosecco, Txakoli or Champagne. I also like it with a Sauvignon Blanc or an Albarino.
Black Lentil Fennel Salad Recipe:
Approx. 6 – 8 side dishes
- 1 1/2 Cup Dried Black Lentils
- 5 Cups Filtered Water
- 1 Cup or whole Recipe Tangerine Champagne Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- 1 Fennel Bulb – core removed – quartered – thinly sliced
- 1/2 Cup Fennel Stalks – thinly sliced
- 1 Orange Bell Pepper – diced
- 1 Clove Garlic – minced
- 3/4 Cup Aged Asiago Cheese (optional, you might need to add some salt)
- 2/3 Cup Fresh Squeezed Tangerine Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Tangerine Zest (optional)
- 1/4 Cup Champagne Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Shallots or 1/4 Cup
- 2 Small Cloves Garlic or 2 Teaspoons
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
- Dash Black Pepper
Sort the lentils to make sure there are no rocks then rinse and drain.
Add the lentils and water to a medium pot, bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low and simmer.
Cook for 15 minutes, you don’t want them too soft or they will be mushy.
While the lentils are cooking start the vinaigrette.
Add mustard, tangerine juice, zest, salt and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk together.
Next whisk in the champagne vinegar, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the garlic and shallots.
When the lentils are finished cooking, drain into a mesh colander and rinse to help cool them down. Cool to room temperature.
Stir in the dressing (I add the whole recipe because I like the extra flavor and I don’t mind the extra liquid. If you want you can add less.)
Mince the garlic and add to lentils.
Cut the stalks off the fennel and cut in half then cut out the core. Cut each half in half and slice as thin as you can then add to the lentils.
Cut bell pepper in half then cut out the core, dice and add to the lentils.
Grate the Asiago with the fine holes on a grater, add and stir well.
Lentils have extremely high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber. They have cholesterol-lowering fiber which helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady stream of energy. A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements. Not only is the fiber good for your heart, the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health. Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain. Glucose is a sugar and a key source of energy for the cells in the body and it is the only fuel your brain can use. The high fiber regulates the release of the glucose, providing a steady stream of fuel that powers your brain cells and is a key component in keeping your brain healthy. Lentils are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with food containing vitamin C, the iron is enhanced, which in turn increases your energy. They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth. Lentils originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River have been eaten for over 8000 years. years.
Fennel is a very good source of fiber that helps limit cholesterol build-up and helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood. The fiber also helps remove carcinogens from the colon and it can eliminate constipation. It contains the phytonutrient anethole, the main part of its volatile oil that has been shown to reduce inflammation and also helping prevent the occurrence of cancer. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is helpful for eye inflammation, and reduces premature aging and macular degeneration. There are high levels of potassium in the fennel bulbs and seeds and can help increase brain function and cognitive abilities and it also increases the reach of oxygen to the brain. The fronds above the fennel bulbs contain important vitamins, like pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin.