Whether you serve it as a main dish or a flavorful side, this vegan Moroccan-spiced Carrot and Lentil Salad is the perfect year-round recipe. French lentils pair perfectly with spiced, roasted carrots, pistachios and a citrus-y salad dressing.
Since I stopped eating meat a few years ago, I've eaten A LOT of lentils. And mushrooms. They're my two favorite vegan meat substitutes, and they work well in all sorts of vegan dinner recipes.
Take these Vegan Taco Lettuce Wraps for example. Who would've thought that cooked lentils and walnuts make for a convincing ground meat alternative? Definitely not me (4 years ago).
In addition to their culinary versatility, lentils are also a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, B vitamins, and a whole lot more. So essentially, they have superpowers.
(And did I mention they're cheap?)
In addition to making for a great meat substitute, I also love lentils in soup and of course, salads!
How to make lentils taste good
This vegan Moroccan-spiced lentil salad utilizes lentils as a main ingredient. I know what you're thinking: lentils can be pretty bland. You're not wrong. Plain cooked lentils aren't exactly glamorous. Overcooked plain lentils are even worse.
But it doesn't have to be that way! Perfectly cooked (and seasoned) lentils can transform the humble legume to a pièce de résistance. Okay, that may be an overstatement, but here are a few tips & tricks to make perfectly cooked lentils (that actually taste good!)
1. Buy new lentils!
If you've had the same bag of lentils sitting in your pantry for five years (let's be honest, it happens to the best of us), toss 'em. Fresh lentils will cook faster and taste better.
2. Rinse and sort
Yeah, yeah, I know. It's annoying to rinse legumes and grains, but an essential step to remove any debris hanging out in the mix. It's also helpful to sift through the lentils quickly to check for small pebbles. Not fun to bite down on a rock.
3. Consider a different cooking liquid
Water is (obviously) the go-to cooking liquid and certainly produces perfectly cooked lentils. That being said, broth brings a whole lot more flavor to the party.
4. Add salt!
Add a generous pinch of salt to your lentils while they cook. You'll want to season them to taste after they're finished cooking, too, but cooking them in salted water adds so much more flavor.
5. Choose the right lentil for your dish
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the wrong variety of lentil can really ruin your final dish. Which leads us to...
What kind of lentils should I use in a salad?
This vegan Moroccan Lentil Salad utilizes French green lentils, otherwise known as Puy Lentils. They're smaller, darker in color, and more flavorful than regular green lentils. French lentils also don't lose their shape when they cook (unless you overcook them), so they're an excellent choice for salad.
That being said, if you can't find and French lentils or already have a lot of green or brown lentils on hand, feel free to use those instead. Black lentils will also work, as they hold up well when cooked.
Cooked French lentils + Moroccan spices make for one delicious salad. We dress the cooked lentils in a flavor-packed vinaigrette spiced with smoked paprika, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne. Date syrup (or agave, or honey) adds a touch of sweetness, while lemon juice adds brightness.
We also coat the carrots in this vinaigrette before roasting. They end up getting slightly caramelized and taste super flavorful!
To round out the Moroccan-inspired ingredient list, we added sautéed garlic and shallots for aromatic depth.
Sultana raisins added a touch of sweetness and chewy texture. You can also substitute with golden raisins (my personal favorite, but hard to find) or Zante currants.
Chopped pistachios add texture and color, and fresh parsley and cilantro add brightness.
This Moroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad is perfect for meal prep or as a make-ahead dish for a dinner party. In fact, it actually tastes better cold (in my opinion).
Feel free to prepare the salad up to a few days in advance. Note that you may want to omit the pistachios until just before serving so they don't lose their crunch.
Serve this salad with a main protein, or enjoy it over a bed of hummus (my personal favorite) for a delicious vegan dinner.
More favorite lettuce-less salads:
Try this Fall Harvest Salad with Roasted Vegetables & Wild Rice. We also love this tangy, flavorful Vegan Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, this Shaved Carrot Sesame Salad and this Sweet & Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad. Who says you need lettuce to make a nutritious salad?
If you make this easy vegan Moroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad recipe, we’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below! We also love to see your creations on Instagram – tag us at @crowded_kitchen so we can see what you’ve been cooking.Print
Whether you serve it as a main dish or a flavorful side, this vegan Moroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad is the perfect year-round recipe. French lentils pair perfectly with spiced, roasted carrots, pistachios and a citrus-y Moroccan salad dressing.
- 3 cups cooked French green lentils (1 ¼-1 ½ cup dry lentils), cooked according to package directions.
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on a bias
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, diced finely
- 2 large cloves minced garlic
- ⅓ cup unsalted pistachios, chopped
- ⅓ cup golden raisins or sultana raisins
- 3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp agave or date syrup
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¾ tsp turmeric
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Rinse and sort lentils, then cook lentils according to package directions. Make sure to add a generous pinch of salt to the cooking liquid.
- In a small bowl, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients.
- Wash and peel carrot, then slice on a bias into evenly-sized pieces. Toss with 2 tbsp of the vinaigrette, then add to a sheet pan and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway through cook time.
- Head a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and diced shallot. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add garlic and raisins and continue cooking for a few more minutes, until softened and fragrant. Remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked lentils, shallot + garlic + raisin mixture, roasted carrots, pistachios, cilantro, parsley and remaining vinaigrette. Toss until well coated. Enjoy hot or cold!
Read the full blog post for helpful tips on cooking lentils!
- Category: Salad
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Moroccan
Keywords: vegan lentil salad