Kale Crispy Black Lentil Salad with Arugula Pecorino Vinaigrette

This Kale Crispy Black Lentil Salad is beautiful, colorful and healthy with a great mix of flavors and textures!  There is bountiful crunch from the crispy lentils, almonds and kale and dreamy softness form the mozzarella and tomatoes.  It has a spectrum of flavors from the basil, almonds and the slightly spicy.  It’s just an all around great salad!

This Kale Crispy Black Lentil Salad

I am so excited right now!  Robby bought an old 68 blue Schwinn 3 speed bike to ride when I ride my rusty red 79 Schwinn 10 speed bike.  I didn’t have any extra money to spend on a bike when I first moved back to Venice beach in 2007.  (you can read about my leap of faith move here) You really need a bike when you live in Venice if you don’t want to go insane with all the traffic and circling the neighborhood for 15 minutes to 45 minutes looking for a parking space.  One day, my friends Beto and Brian called me and told me they had a surprise for me.  The surprise turned out to be a beat up rusty old red Schwinn bike they found in the alley.  They brought the bike to a bike shop that fixed it up just enough to make it rideable.  Actually, this was the best present ever!  I rode it every day.  I rode it to work and after work, I would go down to the boardwalk to ride it from my apartment on Rose Ave. to Temescal Canyon Blvd and back while the sun was setting.  I especially loved that it was rusty and somewhat trashed because I could lock it up almost anywhere without having to worry about it getting stolen.  I would ride it to my friends’ houses, the health food store, to the pier every Thursday night for the Twilight concert series and to parties.  It was perfect!

When I moved to Santa Cruz, Robby and I rode his mountain bikes a few times but we really just wanted to cruise around on comfortable bikes.  My poor red bike hadn’t been ridden in 5 years.  Lucky for me, Robby is now on a mission to fix up both of our old Schwinns.  He bought vintage handlebars, stem, seat, fenders, front wheel, a little round reflector for the rear fender, brake pads, brake cables, etc.  He cleaned years of grime and dirt off of both of them as well as a complete overhaul to make them ride better than new.  There is still a little rust on the frame of my bike just to remind me of the great times I had with it in Venice.  We wanted them to look vintage so we chose not to completely restore them which we think gives them more character.  I cannot wait to go for a ride on our new old bikes.

This Kale Crispy Black Lentil Salad

This salad goes great with a Chianti, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir or a Grenache for a red or a Pinot Gris, Soave  or Sauvignon Blanc for a white.

This Kale Crispy Black Lentil Salad

Kale Crispy Black Lentil Salad
Recipe: 4 to 6 servings
  • 1 Cup Crispy Black Lentils – roasted – recipe below
  • 1 Recipe Arugula Pecorino Vinaigrette – recipe below
  • 1 1/2 Cups Tomato Basil Almonds – recipe below
  • 1 Head Dino Kale about 7 cups – washed – deribbed – thinly chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes  – wedged or diced
  • 1 Container Small Fresh Mozzarella – thinly sliced or quartered
  • 1/4 Red Onion – thinly sliced or diced
  • 1  Cup Basil – packed – chiffonade
Tomato Basil Almonds – whole recipe
  • 1 1/2 Cups Raw Almonds
  • 1 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Sauce (Bionaturae strained tomatoes was the brand used here)
  • 1/3 Cup Basil – minced
  • 1 -2  Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
Arugula Pecorino Vinaigrette
  • 1 Small or 2 Tablespoons Shallots – minced
  • 1 Small Garlic – minced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Arugula
  • 1 Serrano Pepper – optional
  • 1/4 Cup Champagne Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Pecorino – shredded
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Dash Black Pepper
Crispy Black Lentils
  • 1/2 Cup Black Lentils –  uncooked
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tomato Basil Almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mince the garlic and basil add to a bowl, add the olive oil, almonds, tomato sauce and sea salt then mix well and spread evenly onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, stir halfway.

Let cool completely.  *While the almonds are cooking and cooling make the vinaigrette.

Arugula Pecorino Vinaigrette
In a food processor, add everything except the minced shallots and garlic.  Puree then add to a jar with the shallots and garlic and shake well.

Turn the oven up to 400°F.

Measure the lentils and sort for any rocks then rinse.  Add water to the lentils, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for about 15 – 20 minutes or until lentils are soft, yet still firm.  Strain and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a bowl toss the lentils, oil and salt together then spread out on the parchment.

Roast lentils for 25 – 30 minutes, stir in between.  Roast until crunchy. Watch them closely at the end so they don’t burn.  Let cool.
The Rest
You can either mix the kale, tomatoes, mozzarella, onion and basil together and top individual salads with the almonds, lentils and dressing.
 Or, place the kale onto a large platter place the tomatoes all around and do the same with mozzarella, onion, lentils and basil and top individual salads with the almonds and dressing.
* To keep the almonds and lentils crunchy, you will want to add them at the end.
Health benefits:
Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which helps detox the liver. It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma.  Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol.  It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)    More on kale 
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. Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain.  Glucose is a sugar and key source of energy for cells in the body, and 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 in excellent shape. 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. Lentils originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River have been eaten for over 8000 years.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Pita Bites

This Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Pita Bite appetizer is everything!  There is a textural depth to these appetizers not to mention an incredible flavor!

The hummus is heavenly and creamy, which is the perfect contrast to the crunchy pita chips.  The feta adds a touch of saltiness while the lentils add the perfect bits of crunch!  Top it off with some pomegranate seeds and you have yourself an awesome appetizer for your next get-together!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Pita Bites

This appetizer stirred up memories about how Robby and I first got together.  I don’t think I have told this story yet!  I came back to L.A. In October 2007 from Oregon and Robby came back in 2008 from Massachusetts.  We hadn’t seen each other since we were teenagers and we both showed up to our mutual good friend Christine’s house for dinner.  In the next few weeks Robby and I had gone on a few bike rides and the last time he came up to my tiny studio apartment for some water.  We started looking through old photos and he says he felt something, a spark all of a sudden, which he told me years later.  I felt it too but I ignored it thinking we were just old friends.  I called him a few times but never heard back.  It turned out that his mom had passed away and he needed to be alone.


A year went by and unfortunately our good friend George’s mom had just passed.  Robby and our friend Antonia drove down from Santa Cruz.  They had a conversation about relationships and Robby told her he was fine being by himself.  We all showed up to Saint Sophia’s Greek Orthodox church at the same time.  After the ceremony, everyone went across the street to a Greek restaurant Called “Papa Cristo’s Greek Grill and Catering”  We started off with Greek appetizers including hummus. Everything was phenomenal!  After everyone headed to the cemetery but me, I had to do some work and I met up with them later at the Moose Lodge.  I had a couple glasses of wine when our friend Christine said ” Steph, why don’t you and Robby get together? And I said, “because I didn’t consider it was an option since he never returned my phone calls.”

After a few cocktails, we all went to George’s house.  Antonia was going to be flying back to San Jose but everyone was guilt tripping her so she left to see if she could stay another night.  When she returned I was sitting on Robby’s lap.  It was pretty funny, Antonia was all “wait? what? I left for thirty minutes, what happened?  Well, as you can see the rest is history!


These cuties pair well with a light Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Albariño

or a White Rioja.


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Bites Recipe:
48 Bites
  • 1/2 Cup or as needed Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – recipe below
  • 1/4 Cup Crispy Black Lentils – recipe below
  • 48 Pita Chips – recipe below
  • 1/4 Cup Feta Cheese – crumbled
  • 1/4 Cup Pomegranate seeds – or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar – reduced – optional
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – makes about 1 cup – for the whole recipe click here
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Garbanzo Beans – 3/4 Cups Cooked
  • 1 Small Red Bell Pepper – roasted – deseeded – destemmed
  • 1/4 Cup Roasted Tahini
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoons Chili Olive Oil – homemade or store-bought – can sub regular olive oil
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Hot Paprika (can sub for regular paprika)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Crispy Black Lentils – adapted from Life and Health – for the whole recipe click here

  • 1/4 Cup Black Lentils – cooked
  • 1 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch Sea Salt
 Pita Triangles
  • 8 Pita – cut into 6 wedges each
  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano – minced – optional
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste

Balsamic Reduction

  • 1/2 Cup High-Quality Balsamic Vinegar
 Prepare garbanzo beans for the hummus
 You can cook the garbanzo beans two different ways: one is the quick way, the other is by soaking the beans overnight which is better for your digestion.  This is how I prepare them, plus if you are going to make falafels this is the way to go.

Place them in a large bowl and cover with filtered water, they will expand to over double their size, make sure you cover by several inches of water to allow for expansion.  Soak overnight for at least 12 hours then drain.

Quick method

Place the beans in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water above the beans and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let the beans soak in the warm water for 1 hour then drain the water and rinse.

Cooking the beans

If you want extra smooth hummus you can do as Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi do from their cookbook “Jerusalem”  and remove the skins from the garbanzo beans.

Just add chickpeas and 1 teaspoons of baking soda to a large saucepan over high heat.  Stirring constantly for about 2 – 3 minutes.  Covers the chickpeas by about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil and reduce to simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes to 1 hours or until soft, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer.  Skim off the foam and skins that float to the surface.  They should be very fairly tender pressing between your fingers but not too mushy.


Put the beans back in the pot and cover with several inches of filtered water.

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer on medium heat for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until tender.  They should be very fairly tender pressing between your fingers but not too mushy.

When the garbanzo beans are cooked and cooled, measure everything and put in a food processor or blender and puree until the desired texture.


Roast peppers on the stovetop on medium-high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it will work fine on an electric stove. Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems then dice them.

Crispy Black Lentils

Preheat oven to 400°F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a bowl toss the lentils, oil and salt together then spread out on the parchment.
Roast lentils for 25 – 30 minutes, stir in between.  Roast until crunchy.  Watch them closely at the end so they don’t burn.  Let cool.
When the garbanzo beans are cooked and cooled, measure everything for the hummus and put in a food processor or blender and puree until the desired texture.
Balsamic Reduction

Pour balsamic vinegar into a small pan and turn heat to medium-high then bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally until it coats the back of your spoon.  Keep an eye on it because it can happen fast and burn.

Baked Pita Chips
 Turn down the oven to 350 degrees

Cut each pita into 8 triangles and place on one side of a parchment lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and gently toss.  Sprinkle on the oregano and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until crispy.

Spoon a dollop of hummus onto each pita triangle then top with a little feta, pomegranate seeds and lentils.  Serve with a side dish of balsamic to let your guest drizzle over the top of each pita.  You will have about 1/2 cup of hummus leftover.  I usually make the whole recipe and extra pita chips for serving or for my snacking purposes.
Health Benefits:

Garbanzo beans are super high in protein and extremely high in fiber, just one cup provides 50% of the Daily Value.  Because of the fiber, they are great for your heart, lowering blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack as well as help prevent constipation and digestive disorders.  Just one cup provides 84.5% of the daily value of manganese, which is an antioxidant that acts as a monitor of the free radicals in the body.  If you are low in energy the high iron content will help and will transport oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in the body.  They also help to balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Garbanzo beans are helpful for weight loss as they keep you full longer.

Red Bell Peppers are matured green bell peppers and have more nutrition as they mature.  They are super high in vitamin A which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision and are extremely high in vitamin C, so much so they have twice as much as an orange which makes it really good for the skin.  Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are also a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.

Yellow Moong Dal Soup with Crispy Black Lentils

 Yellow Moong Dal soup is a staple in India and is made from a yellow split lentils with very limited spices.

Dal Soup

This is a favorite soup of mine!  I love how satisfying yet extremely healthy it is!


I like a crisp white wine with this dal.  Try a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris.


 Dal Soup Recipe: 8 – 10 Servings

Crispy Black Lentils – adapted from Life and Health

  • 2 Cups cooked
  • 1/2 tea salt
  • drizzle olive oil


  • 1 White Onion – diced
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 6 Garlic Cloves – minced
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger Root – grated or microplane
  • 2 Serrano Chilies – minced
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 3 Vegetable Bouillon Cubes – unsalted
  • 2 Tablespoons Turmeric Powder
  • 10 + 4  Cups Filtered Water
  • 4 Large Tomatoes – grated or 2 Cups Strained Tomatoes
  • 3 Cups Yellow Moong Dal (yellow split lentils)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt or to taste
  • Cilantro (Optional)



Measure the lentils and sort for any rocks then rinse.  Add water to the lentils, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for about 15 – 20 minutes or until lentils are soft, yet still firm.  Strain completely.

Preheat oven to 400°F
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a bowl toss the lentils, oil and salt together then spread out on the parchment.
Roast lentils for 25 – 30 minutes, stir in between. Roast until crunchy. Watch them closely at the end so they don’t burn.  Let cool.

Add the onion to a 5 1/2 quart pot with a tablespoon of oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and red pepper flakes on medium heat. Sauté until onions are soft and transparent. (About 10 – 12 minutes)

Add the garlic, ginger and serrano peppers.  Cook until garlic becomes lightly golden then add the wine, bouillon cubes, and turmeric.  Stir until wine is reduced and bouillon is dissolved.

Add the 10 cups water, tomato and dal.  Core the tomatoes and cut in half then with the cut side grate on a cheese grater and discard the skins. Add tomato to the dal and bring to a boil then immediately turn down to medium heat.  Cook the dal for 20 – 30 minutes or until soft.

Add four more cups of water and lemon juice then cook for a few more minutes to incorporate flavors.

I puree this soup but you can leave it if you like more texture.

Garnish with crispy black lentils and chopped cilantro. (optional)


Health benefits:

Moong beans have a low glycemic index, which is great for diabetics. They are a great source of protein, rich in soluble dietary fiber and also known to help with lowering bad LDL cholesterol.  Moong beans have protease inhibitors which are known to prevent cancer, prevent the formation of cancer and tumor cells.