Lentils are nutritious legumes. If you’re looking for a delicious recipe that includes lentils, try making a French lentil and fennel salad that offers many health benefits.
The recipe for this fennel, lentil, and salmon salad comes from Rosie Daykin’s cookbook “Let Me Feed You.” You can make this easy-to-follow recipe if you have leftover lentils or salmon, and it can be kept in the fridge for three days. Serve the leftover salad for a nutritious lunch the next day.
Daykin, who is also the author of the best-selling “Butter Baked Goods” and “Butter Celebrates!” prioritizes making nutritious home-cooking accessible without compromising on taste and quality. This nutritious dish is full of bold and light flavors and heart-healthy ingredients. (Related: Research: Eating lentils twice a week can reduce your risk of breast cancer by 24%.)
To make this salad, you’ll need French lentils – a nutrient-dense legume that has a nutty and earthy flavor. Lentils are fiber-rich, and they also contain folate and magnesium that can balance blood sugar, lower blood cholesterol, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
This recipe also calls for ingredients with healthy fats like olive oil and salmon, which are both staples of the Mediterranean diet. These two ingredients are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and heart-healthy nutrients.
French lentil and fennel salad
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup dried French lentils
- 1 cup fennel (about one bulb, thinly sliced)
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)
- 1 can smoked salmon, drained (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons (tbsp) dill (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ red onion (peeled and very thinly sliced)
- Zest of a whole lemon
- Place the French lentils in a sieve and rinse them under cold running water for several minutes.
- Add the lentils, three cups water, and a teaspoon of salt in a large pot over high heat. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover the lentils and let them simmer for at least 30 minutes until tender.
- Drain the lentils and set them aside.
- Trim the fennel stalks from the bulb, then cut it in half. Use a very sharp knife or a mandolin slicer (set on the thinnest setting) to carefully cut the fennel into very thin slices.
- Place the dill, fennel slices, lentils, parsley, red onions, and smoked salmon in a large serving bowl. Get a large spoon, then gently toss the ingredients.
- Get a small bowl then whisk the lemon zest, olive oil, pepper, and red wine vinegar together. Pour the dressing on the salad, then toss it again.
- Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe makes six servings.
Fast facts on French lentils
French lentils are a variety of green lentils. Unlike standard green lentils, French lentils are smaller in size with a slightly darker hue.
- French lentils are about one third the size of standard green lentils.
- These lentils are special because they hold their shape extremely well compared to other kinds of lentils.
- French lentils have a slightly different flavor than other types. They’re a bit “nutty and peppery, with a slight mineral-like, earthy flavor.”
- French lentils are best used for salads and light soups because they won’t turn to mush when cooked.
Puy lentils, which are also called lentilles du Puy, are French lentils that are grown in the Puy region of central France. Puy lentils are of the same variety as French lentils.
However, since the former are grown in a distinct place with volcanic soil, they taste slightly different compared to the latter. Puy lentils are even more peppery and flinty.
Eat French lentils and fennel salad and follow a nutritious diet full of lean meats, fatty fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables to boost your overall health.