Colorful, hearty salads with lots of flavor are just what you need for the summer. For example, red lentil salad with prunes, sun-dried tomatoes and pumpkin seeds is perfect and simple—and You can also prepare it in advance. 

I often make dinner accompaniments in the morning. I get up quite early, and then, before it gets too hot, I usually spend some time in the kitchen. I have the salad in the fridge and then set it for 30-60 seconds in the microwave to make it a little lukewarm. Tasty!

How to Cook Lentils

Red lentils are an underrated ingredient. If you cook the lentils correctly, they will be just as good as an alternative like chickpeas. The nice thing is that they are quick to cook and do not need to be soaked. However, you have to be a little careful when cooking lentils. 

They should not boil—but just simmer. It should only be small bubbles that cause the lentils to float around. 

You should have plenty of water in the saucepan for the lentils to move freely.  I often have about two pints of water—or at least three times more than the quantity of lentils. Salt in the saucepan is enough, but you can also add a teaspoon of vegetable stock for more flavor

Puy and black beluga lentils are durable and do not crack easily. Green, yellow and red lentils, on the other hand, have thinner shells, which means that they split quickly if over-boiled. 

When I want really nicely cooked lentils, I usually just boil the water, turn it down to a light simmer and pour in the lentils. Then they can just lie there. Pick up a lentil after 10 minutes and feel if it is soft enough. It should still have some body left.

Perfect to Prepare

In this salad, I have not only red lentils but also dried prunes. Take a variety that is juicy and soft in the bag. I also have roasted pumpkin seeds, red onions and lamb’s quarters. 

Despite its distasteful name, Lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album) is just as good as spinach. That is also why I have now started to call it wild spinach. Lamb’s quarters tastes like spinach but is completely free because it grows wild. So instead of buying an expensive salad, I now run with lamb’s quarters instead. 

We served this salad with smoked cheese. It is excellent with most types of cheese or meat because it gets sweetness from the prunes.

Red Lentil Salad With Prunes, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pumpkin Seeds

For: 4 people

Ingredients

10 dried prunes

8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil

1/2 red onion

⅓ cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup red lentils

1 oz lambs quarters or spinach

3 tbsp oil from the sun-dried tomatoes

Salt, pepper

Method

  • Slice the prunes and sun-dried tomatoes. Next, halve the red onion and cut off the ends. Then cut thin slices from the root to the top.
  • Fry the pumpkin seeds with a little oil from the sun-dried tomatoes until they start to crackle. Add a pinch of salt and allow them to cool.
  • Boil a saucepan of salted water. Put the lentils in and let them simmer for barely 10 minutes. Then, turn off the water and rinse them in cold water.
  • Strip the lamb’s quarters from the stalk and rinse the leaves. Mix with the other ingredients in a bowl and add oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.

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