The other day I was at Whole Foods, and the first thing I saw when I walked in was…drumroll…CHERRIES! Yay! And they were on sale!
I love fresh cherries. They’re only around for a short season, so I make the most of it and buy them often. I generally just eat them plain, but last week I just had this urge to make a big green salad with lentils and cherries, and it was so good.
This salad is filled with the things I was craving that day, and looking at it, I’m wondering if my body was a bit depleted of certain nutrients.
Cherries contain tons of potassium, vitamin C, and beta carotene, and are great for lowering blood pressure and fighting cancer. Pepitas are a great source of magnesium, tryptophan, zinc, and vitamin K, and are good for protecting against osteoporosis and helping you get a good night’s sleep.
Lentils are full of magnesium, folate, and fiber, making them a great choice for a healthy heart and a healthy digestive system. And red onions contain chromium which lowers blood sugar, and quercetin which is an antioxidant that prevents cancer.
All of these ingredients combined make this one super salad that’s bursting with health benefits.
This is an easy salad to put together – the most difficult part is pitting the cherries. The dressing is made of a few ingredients and requires a minute in the food processor to blend it, resulting in a beautiful deep pink vinaigrette.
- 1 cup cherries, halved and pitted
- ½ of a red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup black lentils, picked over and rinsed
- ½ cup unsalted pepitas
- 6 cups spring salad mix
- 8 cherries, pitted
- scant ¼ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon organic cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Place the lentils in a small pot with enough water to cover them by one inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until tender but not mushy. Drain off extra water and set lentils aside to cool.
- Place the 8 cherries, white vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, organic cane sugar, salt and pepper in the food processor or blender. Blend on high speed until smooth and emulsified. Set aside.
- Place the spring salad mix, cherries, cooled lentils, red onions, and pepitas on a large platter or in a bowl. Drizzle with the cherry vinaigrette before serving.
Notes: You can use regular green lentils if you would like but they will not hold their shape as well as the black lentils. You may have extra dressing left over, just store in the refrigerator and shake before using.