This late spring salad with rye croutons and vegan labneh ticks all the boxes for a fabulous vegetarian meal salad – protein, fruit, veg, bread, & plenty of greens. Perfect for the transition time between spring and summer, with both blueberries and sweet roasted rhubarb.
This post was originally published in June 2017. It has been updated as of June 2020 with improvements to the text, recipe, and photographs.
A beautiful late spring salad with roasted rhubarb, vegan labneh, and rye bread croutons! The title for this recipe could easily stretch for miles – salad with roasted rhubarb, garlic rye sourdough croutons, vegan labneh balls, blueberries, lemon dressing, and so on. They’re all important players in this major meal of a salad.
You know it’s good when you want to steal all the bits and pieces before they reach the salad (those croutons). It is a bit of work to make all the different elements, but it’s mostly a bit of chopping which you’d be doing for any other salad anyway. And you’re going to want these croutons!
But really, this salad is all about the toppings. If you don’t want to make and roll the labneh balls from scratch, you can use a soft goat cheese (if you eat cheese) or substitute dollops of your favourite thick yogurt. The creaminess they add takes everything over the top so I recommend taking the extra time to make them, and you’ll have leftover labneh to use elsewhere.
Salad should never be boring, and this is proof! Give me hearty, exciting salads every day of the week and I’m a happy camper. And, I mean, bread. In salad.
See below for substitutions and ideas for this salad – it’s easy to switch out a number of the ingredients and keep the base recipe following the same sort of guide.
- Mâche lettuce
- French green lentils (le puy)
- Fresh blueberries
- Sunflower seeds
- Rhubarb – plus honey for roasting
- Sourdough rye bread – plus olive oil, garlic, and salt to make croutons
- Vegan labneh
- Olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard, and S+P for the vinaigrette
I chose mâche lettuce (lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, or feldsalat in German) for this recipe mostly because it’s my favourite type of salad green, but I also think it holds up well in the salad despite the delicate nature of the leaves. You should be able to find it at this time of year.
In northwestern Europe, it’s available through winter and spring as a colder-weather green – I grow it through the winter and it usually does well even outside the cold frame. Mâche has three times as much vitamin C as regular lettuce, and it’s higher in other nutrients as well.
Making the Salad
Sounds a bit ridiculous, I know, to have an in-depth explanation of method for a salad. But! Bear with me! There are a couple of elements here that deserve a broader explanation.
To streamline this, start by cooking the lentils if you haven’t already (they’re listed as cooked in the ingredients). While they’re cooking, cut the bread, pop it on the baking trays with the olive oil, garlic, and salt, and get the croutons in the oven. While the croutons are baking, cut the rhubarb, and get it roasting with the honey too. Croutons take about twenty minutes and the rhubarb needs about ten.
While those are in the oven, get your salad assembled – lettuce first, then lentils, blueberries, and seeds. Make the vinaigrette, roll your labneh balls, and set them aside. Once the croutons and rhubarb are done, add them to the salad, top with the labneh and vinaigrette, and serve.
If your croutons and the rhubarb are done before you have the salad assembled, don’t worry! They can cool before being mixed in with the other ingredients. It’s a good idea to get them going before everything else so that you don’t have your salad sitting out and waiting for the things in the oven – this is the most time-efficient way to make the recipe.
You can also use a gluten-free bread instead of rye if you’re intolerant but all in all this is a pretty allergy friendly dish. I use this sourdough rye bread recipe (my go-to) but you can use a store-bought dark rye or another type of sourdough – this honey oat sourdough would be nice too.
Other types of lettuce or greens work well. Think rucola, little gem, baby spinach, anything that won’t melt as soon as something vaguely warm comes into contact with it. Sub black or mountain lentils for the green, but not red.
Don’t have labneh? Use goat cheese or feta if you eat it, or dollops of thick yogurt. Other berries or fruit (strawberries, peaches, apricots) can take the place of blueberries, and any nuts or seeds you like can replace sunflower seeds – walnuts would be excellent.
To make this fully vegan, go for maple syrup instead of honey wherever listed.
More Great Salads
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Garlic Rye Croutons
- 2 thick slices (3cm or 1 in.) rye sourdough, cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Honey Roasted Rhubarb
- 2 stalks rhubarb, sliced
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
- Juice of one lemon, about 1/4-1/3 cup
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 125 grams (about 4 cups) mâche lettuce
- 150 grams (1 cup) cooked french lentils
- 100 grams (1 cup) blueberries
- 40 grams (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds
- One batch vegan labneh, rolled into small balls
Garlic Rye Croutons
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the bread onto the pan and then add the olive oil, garlic, and salt. Use your hands to work the oil into the bread, squeezing as you mix the ingredients. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
Honey Roasted Rhubarb
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix to coat the rhubarb with honey, and then bake for about ten minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and beginning to caramelise.
- To make the labneh balls, take small spoonfuls from the finished product and gently roll them with your hands into balls. Make as many as you like for the salad, but I recommend between 10-15.
Honey Lemon Dressing
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper into a small jar and shake until fully combined. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week, but you shouldn't have leftovers.
Place the lettuce, lentils, blueberries, and sunflower seeds into a large serving bowl, in the order listed. Top with the croutons, roasted rhubarb, and labneh, then finish with the lemon dressing. Serve immediately.
See the full post for recipes substitutions and notes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 381Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1172mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 6gSugar: 17gProtein: 7g
This data is provided by a calculator and is a rough estimation of the nutritional information in this recipe.