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There is nothing better than fresh pesto: pesto flatbreads, pesto pasta, pesto-roasted veggies, you name it! So I thought,Why not turn my favorite sauce into a vibrant, lemony vinaigrette? I’m glad I did, because this pesto is the besto. It combines the garlicky, herby, umami flavor of pesto with the brightness of lemon juice and red wine vinegar for a perfectly balanced vinaigrette to top these tender lentils and veggies. Credit: Reprinted with permission from The Clean Vegan Cookbook by Jackie Akerberg. Page Street Publishing Co. 2023. Photo credit: Jackie Akerberg.

Lemon Pesto Lentil Salad with Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes [Vegan]

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Ingredients You Need for Lemon Pesto Lentil Salad with Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes [Vegan]

For the Salad:
  • 1 cup (192 g) green lentils
  • 1 large bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (90 g) pitted olives, halved
  • 1/4 cup (14 g) bagged unmarinated sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup (48 g) Marcona almonds, coarsely chopped if desired
  • 1/2 cup (30 g) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette:

  • 1 cup (24 g) loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup (15 g) fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup (34 g) pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup (44 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons (34 g) white miso
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup

How to Prepare Lemon Pesto Lentil Salad with Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes [Vegan]

  1. To make the salad, fill a medium saucepan two-thirds full with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the lentils for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are tender but not mushy. Drain the lentils and set them aside to cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, make the lemon pesto vinaigrette. In a blender, combine the basil, parsley, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, salt, black pepper, miso, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and maple syrup. Taste the vinaigrette and season it with more salt and black pepper if needed. Set the vinaigrette aside.
  3. To assemble the salad, combine the kale, lemon juice and oil in a large bowl. Massage the kale.. Add the lentils, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot, almonds and parsley. Toss the ingredients with salad servers to combine them. Drizzle the salad with the lemon pesto vinaigrette and toss the salad again. Chill the salad in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes prior to serving it.
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