French Lentil and Arugula Salad with Herbed Cashew Cheese

August 18, 2015
Photo by James Ransom
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

  • Serves 4
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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

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  • Gena Hamshaw
    Gena Hamshaw
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.