This is one of my favourite summer meal prep recipes. I first came up with this recipe in May 2019 during my first dietetic internship placement at a community health centre. I was running a workshop for expectant mothers teaching them about the importance of certain nutrients for pregnancy (such as zinc and B12) and what foods to get them from. This Feta Spinach Lentil Salad with Sunflower Seeds is high in all those vitamins, plus more. It was a big hit among the group and I’ve since made it several times for myself at home because I love all the flavours.
This salad is a great source of calcium (from the feta cheese), protein from eggs and plant based protein from lentils. Sunflower seeds are a healthy fat that support blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Plus, this salad is packed with colourful vegetables.
If you’re living with a physical disability, you’ll want to add this Feta Spinach Lentil Salad with Sunflower Seeds to your meal prep roster of recipes. It’s wonderful for meal prep because it’s easy to make a large batch to last 4-5 days, no cooking is required, and it’s a complete, one bowl meal. It’s also very refreshing for those hot summer days.
If you’re living with chronic pain and/or fatigue, the last thing you’ll want to do is cook everyday. Likely, you don’t have the energy for that. My goal is to make cooking and meal prep as efficient as possible so you can conserve your energy for important tasks in your life.
I suggest prepping your meals on a day when you have energy or you are not in as much pain. That way you’ll already have a healthy meal prepared for the days when you are exhausted or in pain and you won’t need to reach for less nutrient-dense options. This is a particularly good recipe for those low energy days because there is no cooking involved and it’s a simple, one bowl dish. I hope you love this salad as much as I do.
This Feta Spinach Lentil Salad with Sunflower Seeds is…
- High in fibre (from the sunflower seeds and lentils)
- High in protein
- A great source of calcium
- A filling lunch or dinner
- Great for meal prep
- Easy and quick to make
- Veggie packed
- A one bowl meal
- No cooking or heating is required
Tips for Keeping the Salad Fresh All Week
- You can prep the salad base (lentils, carrots, onion, pepper, parsley, and sunflower seeds) and store it in a large container. It will stay fresh.
- Prepare the salad dressing in a separate container and store in the fridge. Portion out roughly 1 tbsp for each meal and only dress the salad when you plan to eat it. This prevents the salad from getting soggy.
- Chop up the feta cheese into small cubes while preparing the salad but store it in a separate container and add in the feta cheese when you eat the salad. This keeps the feta cheese fresh and prevents the salad from getting soggy as well.
- If you plan to include hard boiled eggs in the salad, boil the eggs in one batch (ideally at the same time as you prepare the rest of the salad), store them in the fridge with the shells on and remove the shell and chop up the egg when you plan to eat the salad.
- Feel free to boil a batch of quinoa and include it in the salad base.
- You should have FIVE containers of prepped food:
- Salad base
- Salad dressing
- Cubed feta cheese
- Spinach leaves (or kale or arugula)
- When ready to eat the salad each day, place a base of spinach leaves, followed by the main salad base, feta cheese, eggs, and then the dressing. Mix together and you have a refreshing, nourishing meal!
Feta Spinach Lentil Salad with Sunflower Seeds
- 4 cups lentils (approx. 2 cans)
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1-2 red peppers, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 3/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 1 block feta cheese, crumbled (approx. 1.5 cups)
- 4-5 cups spinach leaves (argula or chopped kale)
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 4-6 hard boiled eggs, chopped Optional (for extra protein)
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- spices Optional
- Rinse the lentils from the can.
- Add the carrots, onion, pepper, spinach leaves, and parsley.
- Toast the sunflower seeds (if they are raw), and add them to the salad along with the crumbled feta cheese.
- Add the chopped, hard boiled eggs, if using.
- Add some black pepper to taste. Prepare the dressing. Add the dressing to the salad when ready to serve.
- Store in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Photos by Julia Hop Hing
Jackie is a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian with a Masters of Health Science (MHSc) in Nutrition Communications, whose mission is to empower and support people with disabilities to manage their condition, prevent complications, and live active lifestyles through nutrition. Jackie runs a virtual private practice and consulting business and runs her blog which has simple recipes and health information for the disability community.