The Best Lentil Salad

The Best Lentil Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

This past Friday afternoon was not one of my finest days.

cherry tomatoes

It was 4pm and I’d been at work since 9. My stomach had been off since shortly after breakfast and a dull headache had been lingering that just wouldn’t go away, even after surrendering to Advil and chugging a huge bottle of water. My space heater was on, yet shivers were running down my body. And while I normally stand at my adjustable stand-up desk, I’d been sitting for the majority of the day. By 4 o’clock, I decided to call it quits and pack up early.

garlic bulb

If you’re someone who suffers from migraines or if you’ve had one in the past, you may be very familiar with the visual cues that happen at the onset. For me, these include random things like balls of light bouncing around in front of me, objects growing and shrinking – pretty much what I imagine someone on hallucinogenic drugs would see while high. No amount of blinking or squinting makes them go away; your head just gets more and more sore and you start to become nauseous. Essentially, it’s a great big suckfest.

The Best Lentil Salad

On this occasion, there were no bouncy balls and nothing was growing and shrinking in peculiar ways. All the other signs were there though, so I knew I had to get home fast. There was just enough time to open my apartment door, drop my bags, take off my boots and jacket, and crawl into bed before the nausea hit hard and I knew I’d be out of commission for the rest of the night.

green lentils

I woke up periodically over the next couple of hours, each time with the goal of removing one more piece of my work clothes and putting on my pajamas without barfing all over the place – a Herculean challenge in the state I was in. Naturally, my inner foodie kept asking if there was anything in the kitchen that might make me feel better. It isn’t often that I want zero food, but this was one of those rare times.

green lentils

After mentally exhausting all of my food options, I bawled in my bed for a few minutes, probably making some hilarious ugly crying faces while my mascara gave me racoon eyes. Strangely this protocol seems to make migraines somewhat tolerable, along with rocking back and forth and twirling my hair…. yeah I know, I’m weird.

Having wallowed in self-pity for about 15 minutes, I texted my roommate Jess who had just come home from work, requesting water and an ice pack. I don’t think she’s ever seen me in such rough shape, but in true best-roomie-ever fashion, she brought them immediately. Seriously, she’s the best.

The Best Lentil Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

The tossing and turning continued until I finally fell asleep again for the rest of the night, waking up briefly at 10pm for some crackers and an orange which was about all I could stomach at the time. Saturday was a bit of a write-off, with my appetite non-existent and food intake consisting almost entirely of fruit. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is absolutely 100% NOT normal, but I was pretty sure that when said appetite did return, it’d be back with a vengeance. So in preparation, I made sure there was something both healthy and filling waiting in the fridge on Sunday.

The Best Lentil Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

It might just be because I hadn’t eaten a proper meal in 24 hours, but this salad tasted so good that I’m calling it The Best Lentil Salad – or at least the best one I’ve ever made. It took a whopping 10 minutes to make and I’ve enjoyed it for lunch every day this week. Best of all, it’s doing a perfectly good job of satisfying my ravenous appetite, which I’m pleased to report has most definitely returned!

The Best Lentil Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

The Best Lentil Salad

by Angela Simpson

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Ingredients (about 4.5 cups)

  • 1 ½ cups green or brown lentils, uncooked and thoroughly rinsed
  • 2 cups low-sodium broth + 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 generous tablespoon fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey (raw if possible. For a vegan alternative, substitute with agave syrup or omit)
  • dash of sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

Boil lentils in the water and broth mixture for 20-25 minutes. They should be tender but not mushy when finished. (Note: If you have time to soak your lentils for a few hours beforehand, this will reduce cooking time by about half and increase digestibility. I soaked mine for about 3 hours and they only needed 9 minutes.) Be sure to watch occasionally and add a bit more water if needed.

Meanwhile, chop the onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, thyme and parsley. Put them all in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together the dressing in a small dish.

When lentils have cooked, strain off any excess liquid and pour them in the mixing bowl. Drizzle the dressing over top and toss everything to coat.

Season to taste with black pepper and sea salt if desired. (If you’ve cooked your lentils in broth, there isn’t much need for salt.) Serve warm or cold.

Click here to print the recipe

The Best Lentil Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

So tell me…

  • Do you (or have you in the past) suffered from migraines? What’s your usual routine for getting through them? Mine involves getting in bed ASAP, popping a Gravol and some meds (called Imitrex) from my doctor, and sleeping for about 12 hours. This used to happen a lot more frequently in my early teens but now it’s only a couple of times per year.
  • What are YOU eating for lunch this week?

23 thoughts on “The Best Lentil Salad

  1. Oh I didn’t know you deal with migraines 🙁 I don’t but several people in my family do. I’m glad they have tapered off and you only get them a few times a year.

  2. You know I feel you on the migraine front! Dark rooms, cold cloths (pressed very specifically around my eyes), and a complete lack of any movement anywhere around me are all musts. Bah! I am glad you came through it though and were able to whip up this deliciousness! Can’t wait to try it!

  3. I have a huge bag of lentils burning a hole in the cupboard. I am TOTALLY making this. Best lentil recipe I have seen in a long time.

    And you are a champ! I have suffered from migraines too – cry, scream or whatever you need – I’ve always got your back. 🙂

  4. I adore lentil salads! I guess we both had lentils on the brain, as I just posted a lentil recipe as well! I love how versatile they are and how they are packed with so much goodness. I love how bright and fresh your salad looks, thanks for sharing.

  5. Ang – so sorry to hear about the migraine, sounds awful! I just had to let you know that I appreciated you sharing the fact that you had a cry fest. I’ve been dealing with a sinus infection for the last week which has been incredibly painful and I had myself a little cryfest today as well – and you know what? It helped to let out my frustration! And it’s helpful to know that I’m not alone in feeling sorry for myself sometimes.

    Feel better!

    1. Thanks so much Sarah! This week was much better than last and hopefully there will not be many more migraines in my near future (or ever!) I’m so sorry to hear about your sinus infection. (One of the many reasons I detest winter is all of the germs and bugs that come along with it!) Isn’t it funny how sometimes a good cry is all you need? I remember the first time my dad was home with me when I had a migraine. Normally my mum would take the day off work to look after me (or I’d have a babysitter when I was a kid), but when I was in my mid-teens, my dad was working from home so he was exposed to my all-over-the-place emotions. On one particular occasion, I was pretty much wailing at the top of my lungs because somehow that just made it feel more bearable, and the poor man didn’t have a clue what to do! It’s hard to explain and I have no idea why it works, but cry therapy…..it’s definitely a thing. I hope you feel better soon!

  6. I suffer from migraines frequently and I can’t take imitrex, so I either take two calcium 1000mg as soon as I feel it or if it’s already started liquid advil and strong coffee, I feel for you, not a nice thing for sure. I am going to try the lentil salad I need to get on a training program!

    1. I hope you enjoy the recipe Gail! And I’m sorry to hear that you deal with migraines frequently. I haven’t ever really tried calcium for migraine relief, but you’re not the first person I’ve heard the really strong coffee trick from. Normally I like to avoid taking meds of any kind, but those liquid Advils truly do work…. they seem to be way faster than anything else at getting headaches to go away (except Imitrex I guess, but you’ve gotta be prepared to fall fast asleep if that’s the treatment of choice!)

  7. Just wanted to share a resource/ treatment option for those of you suffering with migraine. After 20 yrs+ of unpredictable/painful/nausea causing migraines someone recommended the Ontario Migraine Clinic in Georgetown, Ontario. In the past I have tried many medications and diet changes with no results . After several years of fewer and milder migraines they suddenly returned worse than ever. Treatment at the clinic consists of acupuncture (Ah Shi acupuncture) and breathing exercises. So far the results have been great and I look forward to being migraine free. It is not an overnight miracle cure and does require a time commitment (2 treatments a week for a while) which eventually become more spaced out. I was very motivated to find something to treat this because, as many of you will know, worrying about getting a migraine when you have an important work project or family commitment or travel plans can become a constant stressor. Hope this is useful!

    Love your website, Angela, and find your workouts and recipes very motivating!

    1. Wow, thanks for all of this awesome information! I guess I’ve never really looked into alternative migraine therapies in the past because I don’t get them as often any more, but you can bet that every time I AM hit with one, I regret that decision! As you say, it sounds like a time commitment but that’s wonderful that you’re seeing results and that you haven’t had to deal with as many unexpected episodes lately. I know several other people who get migraines (far more frequently than I do) and I’m going to pass this on to them as well. Thanks so much!

  8. Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a year now – love the recipes!

    Sorry to hear about your migraines… Have you ever tried Acupuncture? I’m an Acupuncturist in the States and have treated many people suffering from migraines with successful results – works wonders!! Just a thought.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Amanda! I haven’t checked out acupuncture yet specifically for migraines, but I have used it for some Achilles issues I was having a couple of years ago. You’ve got me interested now, so I’m going to ask about it at the clinic I used to go to. Thanks again!

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