Roasted Zucchini Tomato Lentil Salad
on May 10, 2021, Updated May 28, 2023
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With garlic balsamic vinaigrette, you can make and assemble this easy roasted zucchini tomato lentil salad ahead of time unlike salads with lots of greens.
At this point my lunches have pretty much switched from soups to salads. And before you ask, yes, I will miss the convenience of soup.
The supply blocks of veggie soups in my freezer is gone for now. It’s so simple to plop one of those giant cubes in a pot to start melting at room temperature in the morning.
When lunchtime rolls around, I turn on the burner to finish reheating right before I’m to eat.
Salads require more prep. You can’t have greens and veggies dressed ahead of time because you’ll end up with limp lettuce.
But not every salad has to involve leafy greens, so then you can maximize what you do in advance.
Served chilled, beans, pulses and grains like lentils and rice are great bases for salads that are hearty and filling. And you can toss in the vinaigrette and other ingredients right away even if you aren’t planning devour the salad in that moment.
It’s even better to let these types of salads sit because they have a chance to really soak up the dressing. Also, you don’t have to worry about them getting soggy.
With garlicky balsamic vinaigrette, I adore this roasted zucchini tomato lentil salad.
It’s easy to make because you can multi-task the steps in the recipe.
What are Black Lentils?
Also known as beluga lentils, these tiny dark legumes cook pretty quickly. What makes them so good for salads is that they hold their shape.
When they finish cooking, they should still be firm with a toothy bite.
If you can’t find black lentils, you can use French lentils instead because they also keep their form as they cook unlike red lentils, which end up falling apart as they simmer.
For this salad, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Zucchini: This versatile veggie takes on whatever ingredients and seasonings you throw its way, and it plays nice with lots of other vegetables.
- Tomatoes: Halved grape tomatoes are by far one of my favorite things to roast. These little tomatoes pack in so much flavor when they’re cooked in the oven with just olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Black Lentils: I am such a fan of the firm texture of black lentils. The color looks beautiful with vegetables, and they are perfect for salads.
- Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette: This dressing is a reminder why garlic and balsamic vinegar are so magical together. I reach for white balsamic vinegar because it has a more delicate taste.
How To Make A Roasted Zucchini Tomato Lentil Salad
As I mentioned, the steps for this lentil salad overlap. You can think of it in three main components:
- Roasted zucchini and tomatoes
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Then toss the zucchini and tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper.
I like to put the zucchini on one side of the pan and the tomatoes on the other. Halfway through roasting, you need to flip over the zucchini, so this is why it’s easier to keep them separate.
You should arrange the grape tomatoes cut-side up.
The veggies roast for about a half hour. During that time, you can make the lentils and vinaigrette.
Put the lentils and a teaspoon of salt into a medium pot and fill it with water covering the lentils by 1 inch. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat, so the lentils can gently simmer. Keep the lid partially on the pot to prevent the water from evaporating too quickly.
After 15 minutes, check the doneness of the lentils. They should be tender, but still have a definite bite too them. Think of cooked lentils as being like al dente pasta. The lentils may need more time.
Once the lentils are ready, pour them into a strainer and rinse them with cold water. Then put the lentils in a big bowl.
For the vinaigrette, all you have to do is whisk together minced garlic, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
White balsamic vinegar tastes lighter than traditional balsamic vinegar. You can use the usual dark vinegar, but the balsamic flavor will be stronger and it will darken the color of the zucchini and tomatoes.
I stir the vinaigrette into the lentils before folding in the veggies. That way the zucchini and tomatoes are less likely to fall apart.
To finish the salad, I stir in chopped parsley and crumbled Parmesan.
Roasted Zucchini Tomato Lentil Salad
- For zucchini and tomatoes
- 2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch-thick
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- For lentils
- 1 cup black lentils
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- For vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- For salad
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1/2 ounce thinly sliced and crumbled Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- On a sheet pan, toss the zucchini and tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Arrange the zucchini on one half of the pan and the tomatoes, cut-side up, on the other side. Roast for 15 minutes, flip over the zucchini and continue roasting for 15 minutes until the zucchini is lightly browned and the tomatoes are wrinkled but still juicy.
- Place the lentils and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer with the lid partially on the saucepan. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are just tender. Taste them to check their doneness after 15 minutes. Once the lentils are ready, pour them into a strainer and rinse with cold water. Transfer the lentils to a large bowl.
- For the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl.
- Stir the vinaigrette into the lentils followed by the zucchini, tomatoes, parsley and Parmesan.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.