Salmon-Lentil-Shallot Salad

As we stand poised at the end of January, winter seems to be so entrenched that a lifetime of soups and stews seem the only way to cope. But wait - turning to a good main dish salad is an excellent way to incorporate healthy ingredients into your diet without sacrificing flavor. Just embrace a blend of clever ingredients to make salad anything but boring!

This clever salad begins with cooking lentils and lightly seasoning them. Rather than rushing to chill them, this salad works well with warm lentils and they serve as a warming plate for the sautéed salmon. I adore lentils and salmon together, so this seemed a perfect combination.

If you don't have shallots, you can skip them or fry up either garlic or red onion. Please note that garlic will be stronger than the shallots and red onion will be milder than the shallots. Choose accordingly!

I also happen to love blue cheese and olives, which is why they are given good representation on this plate. If you prefer a different soft, tangy cheese or olives, feel free to make suitable substitutions. What you see above it heaven on a plate to me and an excellent way to encourage healthier eating in my home. Find ways to accomplish the same in yours and let's get through the coldest parts of winter together!

Salmon-Lentil-Shallot Salad

  • 1 c. brown lentils
  • ¼ c. lemon juice
  • ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cooking fat (I used bacon fat)
  • 4 (4 oz.) salmon fillets - skin on
  • 2 tsp. Penzeys Country French Vinaigrette seasoning or similar herb-based seasoning
  • 1 shallot, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 6 c. mixed greens
  • 8 oz. pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 English cucumber, halved and sliced thinly
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook on high for 25 minutes or until lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain if necessary, add the lemon juice and olive oil, stir, and lightly salt and pepper; set aside.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the cooking fat of your choice in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon fillets, skin side down. Allow the fish to cook without moving it in the pan for 5 minutes before sprinkling it with your seasoning and carefully flipping it over and sautéing it on the other side for 3-6 minutes, depending on your desired level of doneness. Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Add the sliced shallot to the hot skillet and fry until they are crisp. Remove from the heat.

To assemble the salads, divide the greens, olives, cucumber, and blue cheese evenly among four serving plates. Spoon some warm cooked lentils into the center of each plate and top the lentils with the cooked salmon. Nestle some fried shallots on top of each salad fillet and serve immediately. If you prefer a dressing, favor a light vinaigrette to avoid cover the flavors already highlighted in the dish.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes