Cranberry Walnut Lentil Salad-005

Typically cranberries and walnuts are paired for a bit of a sweet treat…cranberry walnut muffins and cookies were childhood favorites. (Well, actually not as much as oatmeal raisin ~ but there’s also a story behind that ~ raisins simply do not belong in baked goods!).

Anyway, for a sweet and savory, crunchy combination, and a meal in and of itself, hearty lentils are enhanced by the inherent sweetness of balsamic vinegar and dried cranberries and the subtle bite of red onions and walnuts.

Toss in a little spinach greenery and now you’re talkin’!

Cranberry Walnut Lentil Salad

2 cups cooked lentils (rinse and drain dry 1 1/2 cup dried lentils, combine with 2 1/2 cups water, boil, then simmer until water is absorbed and lentils are soft ~ or use canned)
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp. olive oil
3/4 cup raw walnut pieces
3/4 cup unsweetened, dried cranberries
2 cup fresh baby spinach
1 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette**
sea salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

**Balsamic Vinaigrette
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon or stone-ground mustard
1 tsp. minced fresh herbs (well 2 tsp. for fresh) or dried herbs of choice
sea salt
fresh-ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in small jar with a good-sealing lid. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. 

Toss all salad ingredients with the fresh vinaigrette and serve room-temperature.

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