One of my goals for the new year is to share more family recipes, starting with this Classic Moroccan Lentil Salad made with O-Live & Co. Organic olive oil.
This authentic Moroccan lentil salad recipe is rich and full of flavor, plus it's naturally vegan and gluten free. Made with tomatoes, typical Moroccan spices, and delicious, high-quality organic olive oil, it's the perfect dinner or side dish.
This post was sponsored by O-Live & Co. All thoughts and opinions are originally my own.
There’s something about the way the rich tomato based sauce, high quality olive oil, Moroccan spices and perfectly cooked lentils work together that makes this dish totally addicting.
In Morocco, my aunt serves this salad amongst several other bowls of various vegetable salads, all surrounding the main entre (usually a tajine of some sort) and piles of fresh Moroccan bread.
In my own kitchen here in Portland, Oregon, I usually enjoy this dish with torn pieces of baguette and some fresh herbs.
Here's what you'll need to make this Classic Moroccan lentil salad:
- Olive Oil
- Garlic, minced
- Yellow onion, grated
- Smoked paprika
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- Roma tomatoes, grated
- Lentils, rinsed
- Tomato paste
See recipe card for exact measurements.
Sauté garlic in oil. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Toss in minced garlic and saute until fragrant.
Add veggies, lentils, and water. Add in grated onion, sliced zucchini, and all of the spices. Simmer for 5 minutes before tossing in grated tomatoes, lentils and water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid.
Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until you can bite through the lentils without any grittiness (taste testing is important here just like it would be with cooking pasta). If the lentils feel undercooked, add ½ cup of water and continue to cook until cooked through.
Simmer until lentils cook through. Continue to simmer on medium low for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are cooked through, adding water if the lentils start to look dry.
Stir in tomato paste & serve. Once lentils are cooked through, add tomato paste and stir well until evenly incorporated, adding water if needed. Taste to see if the lentils need any additional seasoning and serve with fresh parsley, paprika and flake salt.
What are ‘Moroccan spices’?
Growing up, most of the spices in our family kitchen were considered ‘Moroccan spices’.
It was only when I learned to cook and started venturing into other cuisines that I realized there are spices that are typical in Moroccan cooking and there are others that are rarely ever used.
The most common Moroccan spices used in my family are cumin, paprika, saffron, turmeric, cayenne and cinnamon.
In different villages and cities across Morocco, families have various spice combinations we call Ras El Hanout. This blend will vary in which spices are used depending on the region of the country you try it in.
The best way to get comfortable cooking with Moroccan spices is to dive in and start using them! Practice is important in getting comfortable and understanding your preferred level of spice.
Let’s talk lentils
Lentils are an awesome legume to use in your kitchen for many reasons.
For starters, they are low in calories, high in fiber, high in folate and pack a good punch of protein. They’re vegan, easy and fast to cook, require no soaking (like other legumes) and have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease. You can read more about the benefits of lentils at HealthLine.
When it comes to picking the type of lentils you want to use for these Moroccan lentils, it’s really up to you. Some varieties of lentils are known to hold up their shape better than others, so that’s something to consider. You can learn all about the different types of lentils over at Fix.
Today, we’ll be using green lentils as that’s the traditional variety my family in Morocco uses.
Grating your onion
This was my first time grating an onion and it’s worth noting that there will be quite a bit of liquid that comes as a result.
Pour the liquid right into the pan with the rest of the grated onion and watch the flavor develop!
More authentic Moroccan recipes
If you’re looking to make a full spread, start with my Moroccan recipe index.
These are some of my favorite authentic Moroccan recipes for you to make to accompany your Moroccan lentils:
- Grilled Lamb Chops (pictured above)
- Moroccan Tomato Salad
- Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives
- Citrus Salad with Pistachios
- Moroccan Shakshuka with Meatballs
- Homemade Preserved Lemons
- Mediterranean Meatballs