It’s time for a power salad, everyone! This brown lentil salad recipe with pomegranates and Swiss chard is exactly that–powerful!
The freezing winter months naturally provoke our taste buds for warm soups and other hearty dishes. It’s been a while since I craved a salad, however. One of my Australian Facebook friends reminds me often that it is quite warm in Sydney these days for her to try my soup recipes. Her comments prompted me to search my brain for a satisfying salad to share this week.
My mind went to lentils. Lentils are packed with protein and fiber; they are filling enough to make a small meal or side dish, no matter the season. And most of us, who don’t currently live in warm Australia, are in a battle against the “winter blues.” If that’s you, you will appreciate the added “power” from pomegranate seeds and Swiss chard. These two popular Mediterranean ingredients truly multiply the health and yum factors of this brown lentil salad.
We know pomegranates are powerful, right? In fact, so powerful that ancient Egyptians buried their dead with pomegranates believing that the fruit provided eternal life! What?! I KNOW!!!! Let’s stick with facts like, pomegranate seeds are a super antioxidant and a rich source of vitamin C; and consuming organic pom seeds can also help increase oxygen to the heart. Less familiar to many are the benefits of Swiss chard. According to this article on whfoods.com, a recent analysis showed that Swiss chard, a top source of vitamin K, ranks only second to spinach as far as nutrient-richness of the world’s healthiest vegetables!
I have learned to like Swiss chard; I simply treat it like I do spinach, and I prefer it sauteed as in today’s salad. Pomegranates, on the other hand, I have had a long love affair with! My childhood memories include several incidences breaking bravely into pomegranates and stuffing my face with their tangy, red, juicy seeds. How did my mom deal with the mess? Well, she made me a full-coverage bib of my old button-down PJ top, turned backwards It worked, for the most part. But if you want to reduce the mess, I found this short video that shows you how to remove pomegranate seeds.
This brown lentil salad is simple, healthy and celebrates great Mediterranean flavors. I didn’t say much about the dressing. Let’s just agree that my ginger and mint dressing covers this salad with just the right amount of wake-your-mouth-up zing!
Pin this easy recipe and share it with friends!
Power Brown Lentil Salad with Pomegranate and Swiss Chard (print-friendly recipe to follow):
In a cast iron or heavy cooking skillet, similar to this one*, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Saute the Swiss chard on medium-high heat briefly until wilted. Season with a small pinch of salt. Remove from heat and let cool.
If you’ve purchased uncooked lentils, simply boil them according to the package (generally, you’ll need double the portion of water to lentils). Do not overcook the lentils, you want them tender but not mushy.
Place sauteed Swiss chard with room-temperature cooked brown lentils, pomegranate seeds, chopped red onion, and chopped cucumber in a large mixing bowl. Gently mix with a spoon.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil and honey. Add crushed mint, ground ginger, cumin, salt and pepper. Whisk again to combine.
Drizzle the ginger-mint vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss with a spoon. Top with feta cheese, if you like. Enjoy at room temperature or slightly cooler.
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- 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped (2-3 cups chopped leaves)
- Olive Oil
- 2 cups cooked (steamed or canned) brown lentils, drained
- 1 pomegranate, seeds of
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- ½ English cucumber, finely chopped
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese for garnish
- ⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp dried crushed mint leaves
- 1-2 tsp fresh ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper
- In a cast iron or heavy cooking skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Saute the Swiss chard on medium-high heat briefly until wilted. Season with a small pinch of salt. Let cool.
- Place sauteed Swiss chard with the brown lentils, pomegranate seeds, red onion, and cucumber in a large mixing bowl. Gently mix with a spoon.
- In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil and honey. Add crushed mint, ground ginger, cumin, salt and pepper. Whisk again to combine.
- Drizzle the ginger-mint vinaigrette over the salad and gently toss with a spoon. Top with feta cheese, if you like.
- Enjoy at room temperature or slightly cooler.