I’m always looking for a delicious go-to weeknight salad that can be served either as a main dish or a whole meal. And this French Lentil Spinach Salad is definitely one of those! Featuring my favorite crispy pan seared salmon, a simple toasted cumin vinaigrette, and dried cranberries for some chewy sweetness, this lentil salad is hearty, full of flavor and healthy.
Lentils are a staple in my kitchen, and for more reasons than one. A plant-based superfood, lentils are loaded with protein, fiber and iron, making them a great staple for all kitchens, but especially a vegetarian one. They’re quick cooking, inexpensive, and totally versatile.
What kind of lentils to use in a lentil spinach salad?
I love cooking with du Puy lentils (also called beluga) because they retain a nice toothsome bite after cooking. However, if you can’t find them go ahead and use what you have on hand or can find, just avoid using red lentils as they don’t retain their texture very well.
When cooking with lentils, it is important to pick through them and discard any stones or debris before cooking.
Lentil spinach salad with salmon
Salmon pairs really well with both lentils and spinach, and it’s a great way to add some heart-healthy protein to this main dish salad. I opted to use my tried-and-true method for pan searing which creates a wonderful crisp crust without any additional fat needed.
If you’re trying to save time, you can definitely use some smoked salmon from your local fishmonger.
Spinach salad with cranberries
Dried cranberries, aka Craisins, are a great way to add texture and sweetness to salads and savory dishes. Cranberries pair particularly well with spinach and kale, making them right at home in this lentil spinach salad.
What to serve with lentil salad
Since this spinach and lentil salad has main-dish status, all it needs is a simple side dish, here are a few that would pair well:
Cornbread Muffins (from Kroll’s Korner)
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Savory French Lentil Spinach Salad with crispy pan seared salmon, a simple toasted cumin vinaigrette, and dried cranberries for some chewy sweetness. This lentil salad is hearty, full of flavor and healthy.
- ½ cup dry du Puy lentils, picked over
- 1 pound skin-on salmon fillet
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 5 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 8 cups spinach (one 8-ounce bag)
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries
- ½ cup thinly sliced shallot
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
Rinse lentils in a fine-mesh strainer, then cook according to package directions.
Combine 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of salt and pepper mixture in bottom of a large nonstick skillet. Arrange salmon, skin side down, in skillet; heat to medium high and sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper over top.
Cook salmon until fat begins to render and skin starts to brown, 6–7 minutes. Flip, cook until flesh side starts to brown, 6–8 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Remove skin and flake into 1-inch pieces.
Meanwhile, combine oil and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently until fragrant and toasty, 4–5 minutes. Off heat, add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Let oil cool in pan (garlic will crisp up). Transfer oil to a bowl and whisk in vinegar, Dijon, and honey; season with salt and pepper.
Combine spinach, parsley, Craisins, and shallots; divide among four serving plates. Top each salad with lentils, salmon, and goat cheese; drizzle with vinaigrette.
Cooking lentils: When cooking with lentils, it is important to pick through them and discard any stones or debris before cooking. I like to spread the lentils on a baking sheet to pick through, as it makes the process easier. I also recommend rinsing the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer prior to cooking.
Keywords: Lentil salad, spinach lentil salad, spinach salad, salmon salad, salmon lentil salad, french lentil salad
This post was sponsored by Ocean Spray Inc., as always the thoughts, opinions, recipes, photos, and content are all my own.