Salads make for great meals in the summer, especially ones that don’t require you to heat up your oven, like this one. Fingerling potatoes are still in season, and the colorful ones look great in this filling and accidentally-vegan salad. If you can’t find fingerling potatoes, new potatoes are also nice but really, any kind of potato works; just be sure to mind the cooking time. Some hints about modifications and serving the salad as a side can be found in the Tips section below.
Low-sodium warm potato salad with lentils, asparagus, and caramelized leeks
Loosely adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day recipe “Mostly Not Potato Salad”
- 1/2 cup (118 mL) black lentils, sorted and rinsed
- 1 pound (450 g) fingerling potatoes, rinsed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 8 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon (5mL) chopped fresh dill
- 1 small leek, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise and cup crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 teaspoon (5mL) fresh chives
- 4 teaspoons whole grain mustard
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
In a small saucepan, add the lentils and 2 cups of water. Simmer over medium-high heat until the lentils are cooked but still firm, about 20 mins. Drain and keep warm.
Cook potatoes and asparagus
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water. Simmer over medium-high heat until the potatoes are easy to pierce with a fork, about 13 mins. 2 minutes before the potatoes are cooked, add the asparagus to the pot. Once the potatoes and asparagus are both cooked, drain the vegetables and keep them warm.
In a small bowl, whisk together the whole grain mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil until combined. Set aside.
Warm a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add a splash of olive oil and sauté the dill for about a minute. Stir in the leek and sauté until it is golden and slightly crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine together the cooked lentils, potatoes, asparagus, chives, and most of the leeks, and half of the dressing. Taste and then combine with remaining dressing to taste (you may not need the whole amount).
Plate the salad
Plate the salad. Sprinkle each serving with the remaining leeks. Finish with a drizzle of any remaining dressing, if desired. Serve immediately.
Sources of sodium
- Whole grain mustard
Approximate sodium intake per serving: 67 mg
- all from the mustard, which has 100 mg per 1 tablespoon (5g) serving
- These values are calculated from the nutritional labels of the ingredients I used
Increase the sodium
If you’re not strict about your sodium intake, add a pinch of salt to the water when cooking the lentils and another pinch when cooking the potatoes.
As a side salad
We have this salad as a main dish so it is heavy on the lentils for protein. If prepared as a side salad, the amount of lentils used could be reduced as much as half, to 1/4 cup (59 mL).
Other types of lentils
I use black lentils because I prefer their flavor and texture and because they keep their shape well even if slightly overcooked. If you can’t find black lentils, check the package for the suggested cooking time for salads. Brown lentils might only need about 15-17 minutes.
Other types of potatoes
Most potatoes will probably take about the same amount of time to cook if chopped into 1/2 inch pieces. Check their tenderness at the 10 minute mark in order to determine whether they need the extra 3 minutes. If in doubt, cook the potatoes and asparagus separately. Asparagus should be tender in 2 to 3 minutes after being placed in boiling water.