July 11, 2013

Stonefruit & Lentil Salad With Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette

by IsaChandra

Makes 6 servings
Total time: 20 minutes || Active time: 20 minutes (not including time to cook lentils)

Stonefruit & Lentil Salad

I love summery food. But enjoying a summery salad doesn’t mean that you have to be hungry ten minutes later. Enter the lentil.

This salad, studded with the little legume, makes the most of the season. It’s hearty and light at the same time. Sweet and savory. Whimsical, yet down to earth. Full of contradiction. It’s the Zooey Deschanel of salad!

I love to toss together field greens, with their pretty colors and velvetty textures, and romaine, for the crunch. The fruit adds sweetness (obviously), but texture, too. Choose fruit that is a little bit more firm than you’d like to eat as is, that way it holds its sweet form once you mix it with the dressing. And the lentils make the salad not only substantial but also maybe a little adorable?

The pickled red onions are totally optional. But I urge you to make them because 1) they’re easy and 2) they add a sweet tartness that just makes the salad sing. All you have to do is toss the pickles in a little vinegar and sugar right before prepping everything else. 15 minutes will give you a mild pickle, but if you do it a few hours ahead, you’ll get something awesome like this (excuse the Instagram photo!):

Pickled Red Onions

They’re great on veggie burgers and tacos, too. If you’re not the type to make pickles, this might be the time to change that. It makes a great conversation starter/pickup line. “Hey, I make pickles.” Try it.

Ok, now go forth and salad!

Recipe Notes

~You can use whichever stonefruit you’d like. Mix it up, even, with plums and apricots. Add some pitted cherries. Live a little.

~I use French or beluga lentils here, because they hold their shape wonderfully. Brown or green would work, too, but don’t mess with red lentils or you’ll have mush salad.

~To cook lentils, submerge them in slightly salted water by 3 inches. You can throw in a bay leaf, if you like. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer, and let cook for about 20 minutes, with the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Check tenderness after 20 minutes, but it could take 30 or even 40 minutes for them to be Goldilocks perfect: not too soft, not too hard.

~Once lentils are tender enough, drain and spread them out in the colander to cool. (Obviously make sure the colander has holes small enough that the lentils won’t fall through.) If you’re trying to speed chill them, place in the freezer and give them a stir every few minutes. They’ll cool in 15 minutes or so that way. Otherwise, place in the fridge once they’re stopped steaming. You can do this a few days ahead.

~If you don’t want to cook lentils, you can purchase canned or boxed ones that are already cooked. They’re pretty good! Just give a rinse and you’re good to go.

For the Pickled Red Onions:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch salt
Small red onion, sliced into thin half moons

Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup vegan mayo, storebought or homemade
2 tablespoons chopped shallot or onion
1 clove garlic (about a teaspoon minced)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Big pinch salt

For the salad:
4 oz mixed greens
1 romaine heart, chopped
1 lb stone fruit (I used nectarines), diced small
2 cup lentils cooked lentils (see cooking notes above)

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar and salt. Add the onions and splash them around. Let them soak while you prepare everything else, giving a stir every now and again. You can also prepare these a few hours, or even a few days ahead, for a more pickly pickled onion.

To make the dressing, wizz everything together in a small blender. Taste for salt and seasoning.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the greens, fruit and lentils. Top with pickled onions and drizzle with dressing. Serve!

 



  • July 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm: Helen

    Hey, the pickles are currently pickling in my kitchen. Thank you!

    (And the whole thing looks pretty delicious too!)

  • July 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm: Krista

    Summer-y! This looks great! Every time I look at the stone fruit at the store I can only think of dousing it with sugar and turning it into cobbler or pie (not that there’s anything wrong with that)–now I have a healthier choice. Thanks!

  • July 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm: rachel

    if i wanted to make the salad dressing oil free, do you think cashews would be a good sub?

    • July 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm: IsaChandra

      Yep, perfect! maybe like 3 tablespoons, soaked and pureed with a little water until smooth. Unless you already have some cashew creme laying around.

  • July 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm: Lisa

    here i was thinking “stonefruit” was an actual type of exotic fruit!
    the dressing sounds really yummy im definitel;y gonna have to try this

  • July 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm: Emma

    I’m loving stone fruit salads right now- just posted one on my blog today in fact! This looks delish, I haven’t made anything lentilly recently either so this might get bumped to the top of the kitchen list.

  • July 11, 2013 at 5:55 pm: Julie

    I have the lentils cooling now, will put it together right after my run. Perfect post run food!

  • July 11, 2013 at 6:47 pm: Jo Anna

    After reading in a recipe that pre-soaking lentils 6-8 hours cuts the cooking time, I tried and it worked. I used beluga for that experiment – they were done 15 -18 min thereabout. Lentils are an amazing food – thanks for the gorgeous summery lentil recipe to try! Ps…will def. make the pickle part, too :)

    • July 12, 2013 at 1:09 am: IsaChandra

      Yes soaking is awesome, good tip, thanks for adding it.

  • July 11, 2013 at 8:11 pm: Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This sounds awesome! Love that vinaigrette!

  • July 11, 2013 at 9:51 pm: Jessica

    Never thought of pairing stone fruits with lentils – now I must try it! Looks great!

  • July 11, 2013 at 11:21 pm: Kate

    Made this for dinner – amazing! The pickled onion is perfect and so easy that I’ll probably be covering everything I eat for the next week in some.

  • July 11, 2013 at 11:30 pm: Val

    What a gorgeous salad! I’ll have to make this for myself since my partner hates stone fruit, what a freak right?!!! I could also make it friendly for him by making it with mango, we’ll see how friendly I’m feeling.

  • July 12, 2013 at 1:57 am: Suze

    Wow! This salad looks soooo good! I can’t wait to make this one. Thanks for another creative idea :)

  • July 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm: Jules

    What a gorgeous salad! Seriously, Isa, you are my own personal chef.

  • July 14, 2013 at 12:36 am: Geralyn

    I made this today and served it to omnivore friends of mine. They loved it! I was skeptical about the pickled onions, but they added a nice flavor. I think I’ll put them on other salads, too. I’m ging to make it again next weekend when my sister visits. She doesn’t like lentils, so I’ll probably sub black beans or garbanzos.

  • July 14, 2013 at 10:42 pm: Jo Anna

    Made this tonight just as written and enjoyed it a lot! Hubby, having become addicted to Sirachi from another of your excellent recipes, added that to his salad and pronounced it delish. I’d use a little less red onion in my serving next time but my hubby had no problem with the amount. Isn’t that one of the great things about salad – flexibility! I’ll def share this recipe and make it again myself. Thanks!

  • July 15, 2013 at 10:42 pm: Bonnie

    I made this salad for lunch today with some white and yellow nectarines from my neighbors’ trees. Delicious!

  • July 15, 2013 at 10:53 pm: Jo Anna

    Isa, I made this salad again tonight because I cooked a big batch of lentils when making the salad for the first time yesterday. So good! Only tonight – for the dressing – I mixed some of the day-old pickled onion liquid with Vegenaise. Was a delicious use of that pretty pink liquid, though there were a few kinda-curdle (?) lumps. I could have whisked them out I imagine, but because they didn’t affect the flavor and would blend in with the salad’s texture, I let them be. The day-old pickled onions were soft and sweet. Of course hubby put Sriracha on it all, once again!

  • July 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm: Lu

    This recipe looks yumm and nutrious! power pack! thanks for sharing :)

  • July 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm: Jenifer

    Omagerd, Isa! I just made this and it was shove-in-your-face good! My husband was trying to steal my salad from me after he finished his. Oh, I added pumpkin seeds and an avocado too, because I needed to use them up. :) This will be in our rotation from now until…forever! Thank you!

  • July 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm: Robin F.

    I had some fresh organic peaches that were on my counter that were perfectly ripe and eating them by just by themselves was not as exciting to me so I made this salad (it was AWESOME timing, btw!). Let me first off start by saying that it looks as pretty as it tastes. I originally served this salad as a side with my infamous vegan lasagna but it made a lot as a side so I had PLENTY leftover for lunch….I’m still drooling just thinking about it! I think Zooey would be proud :)

  • July 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm: Christina

    This is soooooo yummy! I used arugula for the greens, which I will not do next time, but the dressing was amazing coupled with the peach and shallots. I also used red lentils instead of green, which worked out well, I think. Thanks for the recipe!

  • July 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm: Jocelyn

    I can’t eat red onions. Would the pickling work for shallots? I’m excited to try this salad!

  • July 23, 2013 at 2:44 am: Jill

    I think this would make addition to Christmas lunch as I’m always on the look out for something a bit different (Christmas is summertime in Australia). Thanks

  • July 24, 2013 at 1:32 am: Js

    Eating this right now!

  • July 24, 2013 at 9:29 pm: Susan

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was incredible! The pickled onions were delicious. Thank you!

  • July 25, 2013 at 5:16 pm: Lola

    maybe apples instead of stone fruit? I’ll give a try and let you know how it tastes ;-)

  • July 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm: Rita

    YUM! I made this last night and it’s even better the next day! I didn’t have mayo, or the energy to make it (no blender), so I basically just did a dijon vinaigrette instead of a mayo-type dressing. I love lentil salads, and this is my new favorite. Thanks, Isa!

  • July 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm: Lola

    done! apples work good!

  • July 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm: dbkchik

    Absolutely INCREDIBLE!!! I made it for my family last night and it was a huge hit! This is totally a super fancy restaurant tasting salad. So complex, so many layers of flavor, so expertly crafted— I am crazy impressed!!! SO good!! I haven’t had a creamy dressing that really tasted good and not vegan in close to 10 years — thank you!!

  • July 30, 2013 at 12:51 am: Casey

    This salad is goood. MAKE THE PICKLED ONIONS!
    I made it twice as the recipe instructs and used parts of it for numerous other salads since the recipe was posted. Eating it right now without fruit! Also this has led me to using straight up Dijon mustard as a salad dressing. So hooked on all levels.

  • August 4, 2013 at 4:58 pm: Susan

    This is delicious. *****

  • August 4, 2013 at 5:45 pm: Susan

    It was beautiful, too! I was so greedy for it, I didn’t take a picture.

  • August 5, 2013 at 9:21 pm: Ottavia

    Just found this website. Made this salad, and we loved it!
    Thanks!

  • August 7, 2013 at 1:47 am: Kimberly

    This was a great combination of flavors. Next time I’d use half as much mustard in the dressing. My family thought a little too vinegary & mustardy, but I really liked it.

  • August 9, 2013 at 12:10 am: Lisa

    i love this recipe so much. ive made it twice now. once with nectarines and once with peaches and everyone i serve it to loves it too. i love the mustard dressing. i was scared of the pickled red onions so i put them on a plate for people to add themselves but i ended up loving those too!!
    i thought it made a shit ton of lentils though. i used a cup of dry lentils. seemed like a ton!

  • August 18, 2013 at 5:07 am: Heidrich

    I made this because I love Isa’s salads but I was seriously skeptical about the combo of peaches, Dijon mustard, and lentils. It was totally delightful and the pickled red onions are my jam! I also added them to a mock tuna salad sandwich and they added so much flavor and enjoyability. Do it up!

  • September 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm: berryme

    Fantastic summer salad. Have made it several times now. Was skeptical about those pickled onions, but they are the bomb. I always have enough left over lentils for a lentil soup the next day.

  • November 11, 2013 at 11:52 pm: Jessica

    I’m not too keen on vinegar or mustard, so dressing is usually passed over but I’ve thought about this salad ever since I started liking plums over the past summer. I was wondering if apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar could be used for making the onions?

  • December 8, 2013 at 10:50 pm: Celli

    The salad is good, but those pickled onions (added mustard seed to mine) are fabulous! They’re part of my current favorite pizza combination: with sliced mushrooms, manzanilla olives, pickled jalapenos (done the same way as the onions, but with celery seed), and basil chiffonade (added post-bake). With some sriracha if it’s not spicy enough.

  • January 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm: Rachel

    My boyfriend’s meat and potato family loved this salad so much that there wasn’t any left. Thanks for the recipe!

  • July 2, 2014 at 2:33 am: sarah

    just made this – deepish!!
    the dressing and the pickled onions are new favorites in my kitchen!
    really glad to have cooked off some lentils….want them in many quick meals.

  • September 14, 2014 at 8:15 pm: Kitty

    Delicious- followed the recipe exactly. Serve with sangria!