Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lentil salad - Healthy alternative to rabbit food

I have been trying (with limited success) to eat healthier this summer. However, I find that when I do try to do this, I end up eating a lot of green salad. It is easy to bring to work, you don't need to heat anything up, it is cheap and easy to make. However, I get bored of it and sometimes just want something a bit more filling. I have been meaning to try a lentil salad for quite sometime and today was the day!
Photo credit:http://www.chiropractic-help.com/lentil-protein.html

Lentils are amazingly healthy and filling. They can be eaten warm or cold and added to stews and soups to get some extra protein in your diet. One cup of lentils has about 230 calories, more than 17 g (35% of your daily requirement) of protein and 15 g (62% daily requirement) fibre and are an excellent source of folate, molybdenum, B1, Iron and much, much more! They are also free of saturated fat (as is pretty much everything vegan). They help lower cholesterol and help moderate  blood sugar levels.

Lentils have been a valuable food source dating back into prehistoric times. They are found in hundreds of cultures, so while they may not be considered mainstream in North American diets, they are found just about everywhere else. There are many types of lentils as well, black, green, red are the most common. Black and green will hold their shape well in salads and soups and red will get really soft and I usually use them in stews.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has a great podcast on lentils and she makes them sound so delicious I figured if I was to try to recipe, I should start there.

Warm Lentil Salad
Adapted from Colour me Vegan
Serves 4-6
Time: 1 hour from scratch, 15 minutes if you have cooked lentils
  • 1 cup black lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or water, but broth is better)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped coarsely
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped (or other fresh herb, basil would be a good one)
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
Note: Use whatever vegetables you have. The original recipe did not have the pepper, red onion, tomato. I added these after testing the recipe.

First, cook your lentils, combine the lentils and broth in a pot and bring to a boil, stir, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until the water is absorbed. While it is cooking, chop up all the veggies. In a frying pan heat 1 Tbsp of the oil and add the onions and the peppers. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Set aside.

Prep, prep, prep - makes cooking a million times easier!

Once the lentils are cooked let them cool for a bit (you could also cook in advance and serve cold). Combine all the ingredients now in a large bowl and stir well. Serve in a bowl or on romaine lettuce and enjoy warm or cold!

When I put the salad on lettuce, I made some lettuce wraps with it and it was really good. I nice way to serve them, though a little messy.

Lentil salad, served with purple and yellow potatoes

What an easy way to add some nutrition to lunch! :)

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