Salad for dinner needs an extra measure of heft and heartiness, if only to stave off the hunger that prompts a late-night refrigerator raid. Chopping lots of vegetables or topping each portion with grilled chicken or flank steak is the typical way to go, but the right components aren’t always at hand and the ratio of protein to greens can make for uneven bites.

Here’s one solution: Go with lentils. They cook quickly and can insinuate themselves into every corner of your salad. In this recipe, their flavor’s bumped up with a super-quick pan sauce. But what really gives this dish its main-course cred are roasted russet wedges, which are coated with a spot-on blend of Spanish smoked paprika, salt, dried onion flakes (yep, the ones in your Dinner in Minutes Pantry that you’ll find atop an everything-spice bagel). They’ll emerge from the oven hot, crisped at the edges and at about the same time you’ll have the lentils and salad tossed and ready to go. The potatoes are surprisingly meaty, and you might like them so much that you’ll prepare them this way the next time you need a fast side dish.

You’ll be sated and have every right to feel virtuous, as the nutritional analysis for this meal registers in the healthful zone. So maybe a stolen spoonful of ice cream, after kitchen cleanup, would be in order.

This satisfying lentil salad with roasted potato wedges happens to be vegan, though it works well with some soft goat cheese or crumbled feta too. (Bonnie Benwick, Kara Elder, Jayne Orenstein, Breanna Muir/The Washington Post)


  • 1 cup dried brown or green lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 medium russet potatoes (about 10 ounces each)
  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic or champagne vinegar
  • 4 stems curly parsley or 6 stems flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper
  • Salad greens, preferably arugula in the mix (for now, without romaine)

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a quarter baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Step 2

Combine the lentils, the 4 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until just tender.

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Step 3

While the lentils are cooking, scrub the potatoes well. Cut them in half, and then cut each half lengthwise into 4 wedges. Place in a mixing bowl and toss with half the oil, the onion flakes, a generous pinch of salt and the smoked paprika, until evenly coated. Pour onto the baking sheet with the oil and roast (top rack) for 20 minutes, until fork-tender and crisped.

Step 4

Drain the lentils in a colander. Return their empty saucepan to the stove top, over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, stirring until well blended. Remove from the heat.

Step 5

Rinse the parsley and shake off excess water, then coarsely chop the leaves. Cut the red bell pepper half into small dice (no seeds or ribs). Add both ingredients to the saucepan, along with the drained lentils and toss to coat evenly. Taste, and add salt, as needed.

Step 6

Divide the salad greens among plates. Spoon the lentil salad over each portion. Arrange the roasted potato wedges on the salad, then drizzle them and the greens with pan juices.

From deputy Food editor/recipes editor Bonnie S. Benwick.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick; email questions to

Click here for a printable version of the Dinner in Minutes Pantry list.

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For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, view it here.


Calories: 410; Total Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 160 mg; Carbohydrates: 56 g; Dietary Fiber: 10 g; Sugars: 4 g; Protein: 14 g.