Go Back Email Link
+ servings
Print Recipe
4 from 2 votes

Wilted Spinach and Green Lentil Salad

Fresh spinach, barely wilted, tossed with sautéed red onions, rustic seasoned lentils, toasted pecans, and shaved Cheddar cheese, this simple yet rusticly elegant salad is perfect for dinner on a hot summer evening. Serves 3 to 4 persons.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cheddar cheese, lentils, spinach
Servings: 4 servings.
Calories: 283kcal


  • ½ cup French green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup very thinly sliced red onion
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach leaves , washed and dried (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pecans halves
  • 2 ounces white Cheddar cheese, optional


  • Rinse the lentils, sorting out any rogue mini rocks.
  • Put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with water at least 2 inches above the lentils. Add the bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat.
  • Simmer until the lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them or they will loose their shape and texture. (see note)
  • Drain, discarding the bay leaf.
  • Toss with the first 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  • Warm a non-stick skillet over very low heat. Add the remaining olive oil and the red onions. Stir, keeping the heat low.
  • After a few minutes, when the onions start to make a sizzling noise, add the spinach leaves and lentils, all at once.
  • Gently toss until the spinach wilts a bit and the leaves are lightly coated with oil. You want the spinach to wilt around the edges but retain some texture.
  • Toss with the vinegar and pecans. Season to taste with salt.
  • Divide among individual serving plates. Garnish with cheese shavings, if using.
  • Serve immediately.


  • If your spinach leaves are large, strip away the tough stems and tear the leaves in half.
  • Baby spinach leaves can substitute, though take care to remove the pan from the heat before adding baby leaves, which will wilt in quick seconds.
  • At higher altitudes it will take more time for the lentils to cook.


Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 282mg | Potassium: 634mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5459IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 185mg | Iron: 4mg