Weeknight Cooking

French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

August 18, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Delight in all of the familiar flavors and textures of a traditional French lentil and goat cheese salad—chewy lentils, creamy and tangy cheese—while also enjoying a recipe that's 100% dairy-free and vegan-friendly. The cashew cheese consistency should be somewhere in between a very thick hummus and a soft goat cheese—you'll know it when you see it. Add water gradually so that you can be sure to control the texture to your liking. —Gena Hamshaw

What You'll Need
  • For the salad:
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked Le Puy green lentils, drained well
  • 2 cups firmly packed baby arugula leaves
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1 cup chopped endive
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • 1/4 cup herbed cashew cheese (below)
  • For the herbed cashew cheese:
  • 1 1/2 cups cashew pieces or a combination of cashews and pine nuts, soaked for at least 3 hours and drained
  • 2 tablespoons large flake nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons water, divided
  1. For the salad:
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, shallot, salt, lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard until evenly blended.
  3. 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).
  4. Serve salad right away, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  1. For the herbed cashew cheese:
  2. 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.
  3. 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 a 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.)
  4. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Stored in a covered container in the fridge, the cheese will keep for about 5 days

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Stephanie B.
    Stephanie B.
  • NaoHorton
  • Derek Howard
    Derek Howard
  • Arleen Curran
    Arleen Curran
  • Gena Hamshaw
    Gena Hamshaw

9 Reviews

sandra May 6, 2021
I’ve made the “cheese” element many a time and has been a firm winner used as a cheese spread. I tend to opt for more lemon juice (less water) 😉
deborah L. September 22, 2020
I've made this and versions of this a mainstay of my salad/lunch repertoire. Delicious! (Admission: I often use goat cheese instead). Great medley of flavors and textures.
Stephanie B. April 21, 2019
That herbed cashew cheese is so tasty. I added some olive oil to mine - maybe my cashews weren't the best, but I thought it needed a little more richness. But otherwise made as is. I also let the shallots sit in the lemon juice and vinegar for a bit before I added anything else to mellow them out. Yummy meal!
Tawny July 11, 2016
Oh my. I cannot wait to make this tomorrow.
NaoHorton March 28, 2016
Derek Howard, I just made this yesterday and used Greek sheep's milk feta and it was just delicious!
Derek H. January 17, 2016
What is a sub for the Cashew Cheese?
Arleen C. December 13, 2015
Is there a substitute for nutritional yeast? I am allergic
cbforesman August 20, 2015
Do the cashews need to be raw for this to work?
Gena H. August 23, 2015
No, they don't, though I think the texture is most creamy when they are. If you use roasted and salted, you may wish to adjust slightly for less salt!