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Red Quinoa and Lentils with Fried Goat Cheese, Citrus and Pomegranate

Servings: 4

Packed with protein and fiber, this sprightly salad is a balance of sweet and savory. Pan-frying the goat cheese creates crisp edges and creamy centers, but if you’re short on time, you can simply crumble the cheese over the salads.


For the lentils and quinoa

  • Fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup beluga or French lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup red or tricolor quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the dressing

  • 2-1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup minced shallot
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Fine sea salt

For the fried goat cheese and salad

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/4 cups plain panko
  • 1 10-1/2-oz. log plain or herbed fresh goat cheese, chilled
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small head red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tangerines or small oranges, peeled and segmented
  • Honey, for drizzling

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 1030
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 590
  • Fat (g): 66
  • Saturated Fat (g): 23
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 29
  • Cholesterol (mg): 150
  • Sodium (mg): 1020
  • Carbohydrates (g): 77
  • Fiber (g): 11
  • Sugar (g): 17
  • Protein (g): 35


Cook the lentils and quinoa

  • Bring 8 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. salt to boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the lentils, return to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the quinoa, reduce to a simmer, and cook until just tender, about 18 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the oil and garlic. Let cool completely, and then add the pomegranate arils and parsley.

Make the dressing

  • Add the cumin seeds to a small dry skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
  • Combine the oil, lemon juice, shallot, turmeric, cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1-1/2 tsp. of the toasted cumin seeds in a small bowl and whisk. Reserve 2 Tbs. of the dressing, pour the remaining over the quinoa-lentil mixture, and toss to coat.

Make the fried goat cheese and salad

  • Put the eggs and panko into separate small shallow bowls. Line a plate with paper towels.
  • Using a cheese wire or string, cut the goat cheese into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  • Dip each slice into the beaten eggs, then the panko, making sure the cheese is thoroughly coated. Place the slices on a wire rack and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat the butter and olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Fry the goat cheese until browned, about 2-1/2 minutes. Flip and fry the second side until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the paper-towel-lined plate.
  • In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the extra-virgin olive oil and divide among shallow bowls or plates. Scatter the tangerines over the lettuce, and then distribute the quinoa and lentils. Top each salad with 3 warm rounds of goat cheese, drizzle lightly with honey, sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp. toasted cumin seeds, and serve.


Any leftover lentil-quinoa mixture can be refreshed the next day by squeezing an orange or tangerine over the grains to moisten. Also, leftover fried goat cheese can be refrigerated in a covered container and reheated the next day at 400°F for 10 minutes.


Rate or Review

Reviews (1 review)

  • mamacancook | 01/15/2018

    This sounded interesting and unlike anything in my recipe collection, so we tried it. Not a fan of quinoa so I increased the French green lentils. This was fantastic! So many complex flavors and textures. Very filling and perfectly balanced to make a substantial lunch or light dinner.

    This will stay in my recipe rotation list. Perfectly delicious.

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