1 1/2cupsdiced red bell pepper(1 large bell pepper)
3celery stalks, diced
Arugula, for serving (optional)
To cook the lentils, combine 1 1/2 cups of dry lentils with 4 1/2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil in a sauce pan that is large enough for the lentils to triple in size as they cook. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender, but still firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the dressing. In a large bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, salt, and several grinds of black pepper, then whisk well to combine.
When the lentils are tender, drain any excess liquid and rinse the cooked lentils under cold water to stop the cooking process and help them cool down faster.
While the lentils cool, you can dice the cucumber, onion, bell pepper, and celery if you haven't already. The smaller you dice them, the more flavor you'll get in each bite. Add the chopped vegetables to the large bowl of dressing and toss to combine. Add in the cooled lentils, and stir again.
Add in the raisins and sliced almonds, if desired, then serve right away or transfer the salad to an airtight container to chill in the fridge. Serve chilled, over a bed of arugula, if desired.