Warm Sautéed Apple & Lentil Salad - A Middle-Eastern inspired vegetarian side dish packed with flavor! | foxeslovelemons.com

“Made this tonight and it was so good. Perfect for a colder night. We don’t eat meat, so it had plenty of protein for us. Loved the texture that the lemon juice and cheese created with the dried fruits and apple.”

—Erika

I’ve been completely obsessed with Middle Eastern flavors for some time now. I find it to be the best cuisine for making healthy, fresh (and often vegetarian) ingredients taste incredibly vibrant and satisfying.

I love it so much that I actually found myself eating a bigger dinner the day after Thanksgiving (where we ordered Lebanese carryout for a Friendsgiving get-together) than I did for Thanksgiving dinner. Go figure.

One of the reasons I find the flavors so crave-able is that they often include a nice balance of sweet, savory and salty in each bite. Because the mellow sweetness of Michigan Gala Apples pair so well with savory flavors, I find them the perfect addition to this Middle Eastern-inspired side dish.

Not to mention, apples are high in antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C, boosting the overall nutrition profile of this dish even further!

Warm Sautéed Apple & Lentil Salad - A Middle-Eastern inspired vegetarian side dish packed with flavor! | foxeslovelemons.com

To prepare, simply cook the lentils with a bit of salt until they are tender. I used green lentils because I had some on hand for Instant Pot Lentil Soup and lentil and vegetable curry, but any type you have on hand will work. Meanwhile, sauté one chopped Gala apple with a touch of olive oil until the apple is just golden brown and tender.

Toss the lentils and apple with dried apricots, raisins, crumbled feta cheese, parsley, pistachios, olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. A drizzle of tahini (ground sesame seed paste) on top is entirely optional, but entirely delicious. Lemon tahini dressing or even citrus salad dressing would also be delicious here.

This salad is best served warm – as a side dish for kafta beef or roasted lamb at a holiday meal, perhaps? However, any leftovers can be refrigerated and enjoyed the next day as a cold dish, just like my Thanksgiving rice.

Warm Sautéed Apple & Lentil Salad - A Middle-Eastern inspired vegetarian side dish packed with flavor! | foxeslovelemons.com
Warm Sautéed Apple & Lentil Salad - A Middle-Eastern inspired vegetarian side dish packed with flavor! | foxeslovelemons.com

Warm Lentil Salad With Sautéed Apple

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried green lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large Gala apple, cored and chopped
  • 4 dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup tahini (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place lentils, salt and 3 cups water in medium saucepot; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until lentils are just tender, stirring occasionally. Strain lentils.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add apple; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and tender-crisp, stirring frequently.
  3. In large bowl, toss apricots, raisins, lemon juice, oregano, lentils, apple and remaining 2 tablespoons oil until well combined; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in feta, parsley and pistachios. Transfer to serving bowl and drizzle with tahini, if desired. Serve immediately.

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