A quick and easy vegetarian side dish, this Mediterranean lentil salad with grape-mint vinaigrette is the perfect make ahead recipe that tastes better with time. Made with 1oo% Welch’s grape juice, the vinaigrette can be added to just about any salads!
Ahh..fresh Concord grapes… You can search high and low for these purple berries (yes, they are berries!) here in Texas, but you’ll most likely walk away disappointed. However, if by chance you do succeed, please let me know. I shall be there in a jiffy! Thankfully, I can get my hands on 100% Concord grape juice in less than 10 minutes. Living so close to a grocery store is an incredible blessing that I often take for granted.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “eat the rainbow.” Color truly does matter when it comes to fruits and vegetables because it’s a reflection of its special phytonutrient content. While phytonutrients aren’t essential for our survival, unlike vitamins and minerals, they help prevent disease and optimize our body’s potential to function properly.
Personally, I do a pretty good job of consuming red, orange/yellow, green, and other colorful produce. However, like most Americans, I don’t consume enough purple/blue colored fruits and vegetables. The deep hue is due primarily to their anthocyanin content, a powerful antioxidant known especially for its heart health benefits.
Welch’s 100% grape juice contains whole Concord grapes (including the skin and the seeds) that have been harvested and pressed at the peak of their quality and flavor. While it doesn’t contain any added sugars, portion size still matters! A 4 oz. glass of Welch’s grape juice = 1 serving (1/2 cup) of fruit.
One way I like to enjoy the juice during the brutal Texas summer months is to add it to salad dressings to be tossed into cold, refreshing salads. So I introduce you to this Mediterranean Lentil Salad.
Grape + fresh mint + balsamic vinegar = a force to be reckoned with…in your mouth that is 😉
This simple dressing can be drizzled into just about any salad (I also love it in fruit salads!), but since grape + mint + feta cheese is another flavor combination that I adore, I decided to go Mediterranean.
I suggest making this salad ahead of time to allow for the ingredients to fully integrate with each other in the refrigerator. At first, the sweetness of the grape gets your attention and then the subtle but unmistakably refreshing mint sweeps across your palate just as you’re about to take the next bite.
This is the perfect side dish to take to your next picnic, BBQ, potluck, or to enjoy by yourself after a long day, with your dog watching you like a hawk (welcome to my life).
Disclaimer: “My Recipe for the Welch’s Recipe Contest. By posting this recipe I am entering a contest sponsored by Welch’s and am eligible to receive prizes.”
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup diced cucumbers
- 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup Concord grape juice
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1-2 teaspoons roughly chopped mint
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and rinse the lentils. Put in a small saucepan and pour water over them. Bring to a boil then lower to simmer, cooking until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain the lentils and return them to the pot. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together juice, vinegar, and dijon mustard. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in oil, until dressing is thickened. Stir in mint and season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, add the lentils and the rest of the ingredients. Dress the salad (start with 1/4 cup and add more if desired). Toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.