Black Lentil Fennel Salad with Tangerine Champagne Vinaigrette

What a succulent and refreshing Black Lentil Fennel Salad this is, not to mention it’s very healthy.  I love the texture of the lentils, the crunch of the fennel and bell peppers along with the amazing flavor combination of the tangerine and Asiago.

Black-Lentil-Salad-with-Tangerine-Vinaigrette

My friends were coming to visit us to have a beach day, so I thought this would be the perfect beach day salad.  I brought this salad down for the picnic, along with an assortment of cheeses, fruits, crackers and wine and it was perfect!

Black-Lentil-Salad-with-Tangerine-Champagne-Vinaigrette

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-with-Tangerine-Vinaigrette

Black-Lentil-Fennel-Salad-with-Tangerine-Champagne-Vinaigrette

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 – cored – 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)

Tangerine Vinaigrette

  • 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
Instructions:

Lentils

Sort lentils to make sure there are no rocks then rinse and drain.

Add the lentils and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low and simmer.

Cook until just tender approx. 15 – 20 minutes, you don’t want them too soft or they will be mushy so check them at 15 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking start the vinaigrette.

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.

The rest

When the lentils are done drain into a mesh colander and rinse with water to help them cool down.  Allow to 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 and slice as thin as you can then add to lentils.

Cut bell pepper in half then cut out the core, dice and then add to lentils.

Grate the asiago with the fine holes on a grater, add and stir all ingredients well. (optional)

Black-Lentil-Salad-with-Asiago-Cheese-and-Tangerine-Vinaigrette

Health Benefits: 

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber 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.  They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K.  They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth.

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.

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