This last December, we went to California for a few weeks to enjoy the beach, hit up Disneyland for the kiddos, and just enjoy one of our most beloved places to visit.
One of our favorite things to do — on trips and in general — is to find new restaurants to try and test them out.
There’s just something about being on a trip that makes it feel like you can put more effort into trying new things, at least it feels that way for us. Is it that way for you, too?
On one of our first days after arriving in Los Angeles, we met some good friends in Laguna Beach <— LOVE BTW. They suggested we meet at this place called Active Culture that is a mix between vegan bowls and frozen yogurt. It’s a small little cafe on the corner of the main street and is right by the breathtaking Laguna Beach ocean.
This was definitely a good call.
I ordered the Quinoa and Lentil Bowl and anxiously awaited it. We had just traveled for 2 1/2 days with the kiddos in the car across the country so I was very much excited to get some healthy FRESH food.
When my salad bowl came out, it was piled high to the sky. I made a comment like, “Wow, that’s a lot of food – I’ll never finish this.”
To which I immediately regretted saying because that pretty much guaranteed I’d be licking the bottom of the bowl after devouring it.
So I took a bite. And another one. And several more. It was SO good.
The flavors were vibrant and complimentary. It was crunchy, chewy, and tender, all at the same time. The kick of the lemon vinaigrette was amazing and really made everything pop.
It was everything I wanted.
We wound up driving back out to Laguna Niguel a second time on our trip to grab another salad for me so I could take note of everything in the salad to recreate it later. And to see that amazing ocean. Swoon.
Once we got back home to Austin, I took a shot at it and made a very comparable salad that is so easy to make at home. Yay. While it’s not the exact same because it doesn’t have the original “slammin’ sauce” like the original, it is still incredibly yummy and like detox in a bowl. I’ve made it a ton already and it never gets old.
Quinoa Lentil Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
I like to make this quinoa lentil salad with lemon vinaigrette in bulk so I can grab it as a lunch or side to a dinner. It’s packed full of protein, fiber, and other yummy healthy goodness and one of my favorite things to eat right now. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
P.S. If you can’t get enough lentils, you can also check out my yummy Cold Lentil Salad, too! 🙂
- For the Quinoa Lentil Salad
- ½ cup cooked quinoa*
- ½ cup cooked lentils**
- ¼ cup kale, packed
- ¼ cup canned/cooked garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup cucumber, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup carrot, diced (1/2 carrot)
- ¼ cup grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 tbsp. red onion, finely diced
- ½ tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
- For the Lemon Vinaigrette
- ½ tsp. lemon zest
- 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp. raw honey
- ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- ⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- If cooking the quinoa and lentils, see notes for how to cook.
- To prep the kale, remove the leaves from the spine and then break the kale into bite size pieces. Toss the kale with a little olive oil and rub all over the kale, massaging it until the kale reduces in volume and becomes less stiff. (This makes a huge difference in the texture of the kale.)
- To make the lemon vinaigrette, combine the freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, raw honey, dijon mustard, sea salt, ground black pepper, and olive oil in a small mixing bowl, and whisk together until well combined.
- To assemble the salad, combine the cooked quinoa, cooked lentils, kale, garbanzo beans, diced cucumber, diced carrot, quartered grape tomatoes, finely diced red onion, and raw sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
- Drizzle over a few tablespoons of the lemon vinaigrette, and toss once more.
- For garnish, sprinkle a few more sunflower seeds over the top.
**To cook the lentils, combine 1 cup dry lentils with 3 cups water, bring to boil, then simmer, covered for 30 minutes until tender. Once they’re cooked drain and set aside to cool.
***Cook time does not include cooked lentils or quinoa. Add 35 minutes if cooking.
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