The Most Important Ingredient In Andrew Zimmern's Favorite Vegan Salad

Two weeks ago, celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern was all about cooking up deliciously decadent chicken wings in preparation for the Super Bowl's tailgate party (via Kare 11). This week, he seems to have taken a page out of Jamie Oliver's rule book — the one that mandates that 30 percent of all his content should be veggie or vegan (via The Food Designer).

While the recipe that Zimmern describes as his "favorite vegan, protein-rich salad" might not sound like a side dish likely to make your Thanksgiving 2021 spread, hear us out (via Twitter). As Zimmern himself points out in his YouTube tutorial, you're welcome to add a dairy-based salad dressing to this if you want. There's nobody preventing you from adding "shredded chicken or roast pork" to it either. More to the point, we've watched Zimmern make it. This vegan salad is like the Squirrel Girl of Marvel's cinematic universe. You want to laugh, but you'd be very, very ill-advised to underestimate it.

This is the key to Andrew Zimmern's protein-packed vegan salad

Spoiler alert: it's the lentils. Andrew Zimmern packs his favorite vegan salad with them. And little wonder: lentils are a superfood. As per what dietitian Lyndi Cohen told HuffPost, the nutrient-packed, protein-rich, and carbohydrate-filled legumes also "provide slow-burning, long-lasting energy and are packed with fiber... which helps with your digestive system." Eating lentils also helps lower your cholesterol levels, and their folate and magnesium contents actively work against heart disease.

As we said, Zimmern's vegan salad is Squirrel Girl but (if this is possible) even more seductive. And that's due to the rice, radishes, avocado, cherry tomatoes, parsley, minced shallot, cilantro, mint, and lime that he mixes in with the lentils to make it. Did we forget the olive oil and the "little bit of honey" that Zimmern finishes his salad off with? According to the celebrity chef, the honey "perks up all the acidic elements in there." Andrew Zimmern, give us more.