Lentil Salad with Chinese 5-Spice

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Lentil salad with Chinese 5 spice

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I don’t throw words around like “best” very often but, seriously, this is the best salad ever. I’m also convinced that the energy from the lentils and spices kept me going over a few 13-hour workdays.

Not too shabby, little salad. Not too shabby.

Everyone knows lentils are good for you, but normally I just use them when I want to get filled up in a hurry. But then last week I realized I had taken on a nearly impossible amount of work, and I completely gave up on nutrition. For the first time in three years, I asked my husband to grab us boxed mac and cheese and frozen pizzas from the store. I just couldn’t get into the kitchen. Nothing horrible happened – our hearts didn’t explode from salt and chemicals, and we had a couple of passable “meals.” But then I realized that I was craving lentils – badly. So I put this salad together and, wow, not only was I full for hours, I felt as fresh at 10 p.m. as I did when I first started working at 9 a.m.


I don’t know if it was because I’d been eating junk food, or just because the lentils and spices gave me some serious energy – but this salad has become my go-to for lunch everyday.

I’m in love.

Hopefully you have the spices around to make your own 5-Spice powder, because it’s much more delicious than what you get in a bottle. It’s only through serious self-restraint that I’ve kept from putting it on everything in the kitchen.

Also, if you can get your hands on locally grown purple carrots, they make the salad even more beautiful.

Lentil salad with Chinese 5 spice
Yield: 4 servings

Lentil Salad with Chinese 5-Spice

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


5 Spice Powder

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 10 “points” star anise
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 3 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 2 1/2 cups French green lentils
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 small carrots, shredded

Spice Vinaigrette

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons 5-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


5 Spice Powder

  1. You can store the 5-Spice in an airtight container for up to 6 months – that is, if you can make it last that long.


  1. Drain in rinse in a colander under cold water. Pour the lentils into a medium bowl and stir in the scallions and carrots. Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients, and dress the lentils.


Calories per serving: 542 Fat per serving: 8.7g

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 358Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 53mgSodium 1919mgCarbohydrates 38gFiber 14gSugar 8gProtein 39g

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  • Launie Kettler

    Launie Kettler is a food writer/photographer who lives in a “suburb" of Burlington, VT. She cooks big food in a small kitchen, and her husband and cats are tolerant of the fact that she plays the same Wilco and Son Volt albums over and over while pontificating about the beauty of cumin. Her food blog, Teeny Tiny Kitchen, was featured on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, and her writing has been linked to by CNN and the L.A. Times. Launie has also had her recipes featured on Punk Domestics, Cheese Culture Magazine, Athens Foods and Salon. Check out Teeny Tiny Kitchen for more recipes and photos or follow Launie on Twitter @Teenytinykitchn

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