Piquant curried lentil salad, with mango, beets and baby spinach!
Lentils, in my book, are the most affable ones in the legume family. With their deep flavor and their texture, they taste great solo and also are scrumptious teamed with a variety of ingredients. Plus, they hold their flavor without overwhelming the taste of other ingredients. What a great team player, right?
Lentils are high in protein and fiber and low in fat, which makes them a healthy substitute for meat. They’re also packed with folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium and fiber.
This festive salad is just perfect for the season, isn’t it? I love eating the fresh seasonal produce. On a recent trip to the farmer’s market in Cambridge, MA, the stunning multi- colored beets and starburst radishes were my inspiration in creating this salad.
The curried lentils are delicious and easy to make ahead. The dressing is simple. It comes together with the tempering of spices in coconut oil and the lime juice. The beets and radishes are thinly sliced, using a mandolin and then dropped in ice water. They were crisp and crunchy and their texture and flavor juxtaposed very well with the lentils, mango and the baby spinach.
I had so much fun creating this salad and it tasted clean, simple and awesome!
Curried Masoor Salad
For the curried lentils-
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 8 fresh curry leaves
- 1 dried red chili pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon asafetida powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 ½ cups cooked masoor/ lentils Lentils cooked in IP ( see the detailed note below)
- Salt to taste
- Juice of ½ lime
Add to the salad-
- 1 small each, radish, and multi colored beet, peeled, and cut into thin slices
- 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut in cubes
- 1 small red onion, minced
- A handful of baby spinach leaves
To make the Curried Lentil Salad-
- In a saute pan, heat the coconut oil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low, add the mustard seeds and the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the curry leaves and the dried chili pepper. Stir for a minute or so and add the asafetida and turmeric powders. You will see the asafetida powder ‘bloom’ in about 30 seconds.
- Then add the cooked lentils, salt and lime juice and toss well to coat for about a minute.
- Remove from heat and let cool. The lentils can also be made ahead of time.
- Peel and thinly slice the multi colored beets and the radish using a knife or a mandoline. Drop them in iced water for about 10 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, peel, pit and cut the mango into cubes.
- Toss the lentils with the mango cubes, diced red onion, baby spinach,and the drained beets and radish slices.
Note– To prepare the lentils- I pick, wash and soak them overnight. The next day I drain them, add a pinch of salt and cook them in a colander in the Instant Pot on ‘Bean’ setting. I cook a batch of them and after they are cool, I freeze the leftover lentils in portion sizes for future use.
This salad is so delicious and nutritious, you will want to have it again and again. It also is so festive for the spring holiday tables.