French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

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French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

I can’t even with this recipe.

Gena from Choosing Raw is the author of Food52‘s latest cookbook – Food52 Vegan. And she nailed it. Well, Food52 nailed it, I guess!

Not only is this cookbook gorgeous, it’s full of healthy cooking methods, ingredients and innovative ways to eat more veggies – how Inspiralized, eh? I’m excited to share a recipe from the book and giveaway a copy!

French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

I’m a big fan of Food52 – their imagery, their writing, their mission, I always find inspiration there.

So, I decided to Inspiralize one of the recipes in the book and share it with all of you! In this “French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese,” there are cucumbers and radishes, so I simply spiralized them with the Inspiralizer!

French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

Not only are these spiralized veggies easier to prepare, they add more heartiness to this salad and make it fluffier, prettier and more fun to eat.

And let’s talk about this herbed cashew cheese for a moment.

French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

Wow. What I love about vegan cooking is that it forces you to be creative, since your ingredient list is restricted (ie no cheese.) This herbed cashew cheese really hit the spot – it has a lovely consistency, herbed flavor (an account of the Herbes de Provence) and that buttery, cheesy richness (on account of the nutritional yeast flakes.)

This cashew cheese is something I’ll be making over and over again – it would be great spread over cucumber slices, crackers, with quinoa or farro, whole grain toast, or in a salad, like in this recipe. It was easy to make – the only time-consuming part is pre-soaking the cashews, but all that takes is a little planning!

French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

This is the headnote from the recipe:

This salad is inspired by that traditional combination of Le Puy lentils, walnuts, and goat cheese, with crisp arugula and radishes adding a welcome crunch and a peppery kick. In place of the goat cheese, I use tangy, salty Herbed Cashew Cheese. Making the cashew cheese requires some forethought, so if you don’t have any on hand or time to make it, you can omit it or substitute a chopped avocado.

The Recipe

French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

Cook Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 4


  • 1 ?3 cup olive oil
  • 1 small shallot minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 1 ?2 cups cooked lentils drained well (preferably Le Puy green lentils)
  • 2 cups firmly packed baby arugula leaves
  • 1 cup spiralized radishes Blade D – or thinly sliced, if you can’t find large enough radishes to spiralize
  • 1 cup chopped endive
  • 1 cup spiralized cucumber Blade D
  • 1 ?4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 ?3 cup toasted walnuts chopped
  • Pepper
  • For the Herbed Cashew Cheese - use 1/4 cup recipe instructions follows below
  • 1 1 ?2 cups cashew pieces or a combination of cashews and pine nuts soaked in water for at least 3 hours and drained
  • 2 tablespoons large-flake nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 1 ?4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 tablespoons water


  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, shallot, salt, lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard until evenly blended.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the lentils, arugula, radishes, endive, cucumber, and dill. Drizzle evenly with the dressing, then toss or stir until all the ingredients are evenly coated. Stir in the walnuts and season with black pepper to taste. Dot the top of the salad with small bits of the cashew cheese (about 1?2 teaspoon each).
  • Serve the salad right away, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • The Best Way to Cook Lentils
  • Good news: lentils are quicker to prepare from scratch than beans and add great texture and nutrition to dishes. To cook them, start with about 1 cup of red, brown, or Le Puy (green) lentils. Pick out any that are discolored or shriveled. Rinse the lentils under running water, then combine them in a saucepan with 2 1?2 cups of water. Bring the water to a rapid simmer, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Add extra water as needed so that the lentils remain barely submerged. Simmer the lentils for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re tender but retain some chew. (Red lentils take less time to cook because they’ve been split, so they’ll likely be tender in 20 to 25 minutes.) Drain them, then season with salt and pepper to taste. 1 cup of dry red, brown, or Le Puy lentils will make between 2 and 2 1?4 cups of cooked lentils.
  • Herbed Cashew Cheese
  • Nut cheese can be made with almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, or pine nuts, but cashews, with their buttery texture and mild taste, are perfectly suited to the task. This cashew cheese, which is soft and spreadable, is infused with herbs for a more complex flavor profile and nutritional yeast for a kick of umami. Spread it on crackers or toast or crumble it over a salad.
  • Put the cashews in a food processor or blender (preferably a high-speed blender). Add the nutritional yeast, salt, herbes de Provence, pepper, lemon juice, and garlic. Pulse a few times to break the cashews down until they have a wet, coarse, mealy texture.
  • With the motor running, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the water. Now it’s time for some kitchen intuition: keep adding water, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl, until the mixture has a good consistency. It should be similar to thick hummus—a little coarse, but smooth and spreadable. You may not need all of the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. (If using a blender, start on a low speed and gradually increase to high speed as you add the water, using a plunger attachment the entire time to keep the mixture blending.)
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Stored in a covered container in the fridge, the cheese will keep for about 5 days.

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Wendy Ryan says:
Don't know that much about vegan cooking but this book looks like a good intro.
Tara says:
I love the BBQ plantain and Tempeh Burritos from Healthy. Happy. Life. :)
Lynne W says:
I'm in love with roasted veggies. I can eat pretty much any veg this way, and it makes life so easy!
[…] I go, a quick note that the lovely Ali of Inspiralized is hosting a giveaway of Food52 Vegan on her blog right now. If you’re curious, she’s also sharing my recipe […]
Dawn says:
My 70 y/o friend/roommate and I are going more vegetarian/vegan and this sounds like recipe she'll love. As long as I have enough protein, I'm game for meatless meals!
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