Salad #20: Lentil and Rice Salad on Tomato Flowers

Salad #20: Lentil and Rice Salad on Tomato Flowers

I based this 20th salad in the 52 Salad Recipes Series on one that I clipped out of a newspaper about 25 years ago. It’s gone through a few transformations over the years but today I bring it to you pretty close to what I remember as its original form.

The basic salad ingredients are pretty true to the original recipe. The biggest difference is in the cutting of the tomatoes. In the newspaper clipping from way back when, they cut the top off each tomato, scooped out the inside of the tomato and filled the hollow with the lentil and rice mixture.

Tomato Flower

I can’t remember what they told you to do with the tomato innards. Maybe chopped them up and tossed them into the salad mixture? Reserved them for another use? Or because it was the late 80s and there wasn’t much worry about food waste, maybe they tossed the innards in the trash?

Tomato Flower

In order to avoid a perplexing tomato innards dilemma, I chose to cut each tomato into wedges that are still joined at the bottom. Tip: to prevent knife cuts from going right through, set a chopstick on either side of the tomato before cutting (see photo below).

Chopstick Cutting Guides

After making four cuts to create eight wedges, you gently fan the tomato wedges out so they form a flower like shape. Rest each tomato on a bed of arugula, or greens of your choosing, pile the lentil and rice mixture on top and you’ve got yourself a salad that is pretty enough to serve your most special guests. My most special guest was Mr Fox. He was suitably impressed with my efforts and thought this Lentil and Rice Salad on Tomato Flowers was a real treat.

Lentil and Rice Salad on Tomato Flowers

Now if you don’t have special guests to treat, or if you want to assemble something more suitable to a large family style dinner, you don’t need the tomato flowers or greens. The lentil and rice part of this salad can stand on its own. There’s been a few times I’ve taken the Lentil and Rice Salad to a potluck. Sometimes spread flat on a platter over a bed of greens and topped with a ring of cherry tomatoes. Or I’ve skipped the greens all together and served the lentil and rice mixture in a pretty bowl (of course), topped with a ring of tomato slices, or grape tomatoes.

Lentil and Rice Salad on Tomato Flowers

**a weird thought just popped into my head … sorry, sometimes I get distracted … did we have grape tomatoes in the 80’s? Or was it just the well-rounded cherry tomatoes that I remember?

Anyhow, I’ve never tossed all of the ingredients together in one big bowl along with the greens and tomatoes. It just wouldn’t feel right to have the greens and tomatoes tossed in. Like I would be breaking a salad law or most definitely committing a faux pas.

Lentil and Rice Salad on Tomato Flowers

Make this salad. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Whenever I take it to a potluck, it disappears in a hurry. I often get requests for the recipe and now that this recipe is up on the blog, I can just tell people where to go … snicker 😉

Lentil and Rice Salad on Tomato Flowers
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Summary: A simple salad that is pretty enough to serve your most special guests.
Gluten Free | Dairy Free | Egg Free | Refined Sugar Free | Real Food | Vegan | Vegetarian
  • 1/2 Cup green lentils, uncooked (I used puy lentils)
  • 1/2 Cup brown basmati rice, uncooked
  • 1/3 Cup avocado oil, or salad oil of choice
  • 1/8 Cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp real maple syrup, or honey
  • 1/2 Cup cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 6 Cups arugula, or salad greens of choice
  1. Rinse lentils and rice. In a saucepan, add lentils, rice and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until water is absorbed and lentils are tender. Remove from heat stir to fluff. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium salad bowl, whisk together oil, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Add cucumbers, carrots, and celery. Stir to mix.
  3. Add lentil/rice mixture to the vegetables in the salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Refrigerate mixture until ready to serve (may be refrigerated for a couple of days).
To Serve:
  1. Evenly divide arugula between serving plates.
  2. On a cutting board, cut across from the top down almost to the bottom of each tomato. Don't cut right through. You want the tomato wedges to stay connected at the bottom (**you can set chopsticks on either side of the tomato as a guide so you don't cut right through).
  3. Tomato Flower 1st cut
  4. Make 4 cuts in total to create 8 equal wedge shapes. Use your fingers to gently separate the slices just until they're slightly flattened. Be careful not to separate them completely.
  5. Set a tomato 'flower' on each plate and top with the lentil and rice mixture. If there's extra lentils and rice, you can serve it on its own without the tomatoes and salad greens.


Laureens Signature

To see a text listing of Laureen’s gluten free recipes, click here

For dairy, egg, nut and gluten free flour substitutions, click here

Laureen Fox
Meet the voice behind this Fox Kitchen blog. Laureen is an enthusiastic amateur cook and Canadian Food Blogger from Vancouver BC. She loves spending her days creating good wholesome food in this Fox Kitchen. Evenings will find her blogging about the best that living without gluten has to offer.
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Dairy Free Egg Free Gluten Free Real Food Recipe Refined Sugar Free Vegan Vegetarian


  1. Nancy A. says:

    Love the presentation and ingredients. So happy you offer a vegan sweetener option (maple syrup). Happy Thanksgiving and much inspiration. Nancy A @

  2. Diana L says:

    Beautiful presentation, just love it. Love the tip on using chop sticks so you don’t cut all the way through the tomato. I’ll have to make this for my girlfriend next week who is gluten sensitive.

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