When hot weather rolls around, I start wanting to cook less and eat lighter. Wish I could say the latter was a year round desire but I love my risottos, stews and sauces too much! It's not quite "hot" yet here in NH but we've had a few humid days where I needed something light and this does the trick. This salad has lots of protein, fiber, veggies and just enough healthy fat to make this a balanced and healthy meal that doesn't taste like cardboard. It'll fill you up and won't leave you feeling over-stuffed on a hot summer day. Plus J hates lentils and I love getting him to eat healthy things he thinks he hates. He liked this and didn't even realize there were lentils in it till I told him!
1/2 cup green lentils
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (optional)
1 red or sweet onion, roughly chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 garlic clove, minced
a very large handful of chopped fresh parsley
black pepper & kosher salt to taste
Total calories per serving: 317
First, rinse your lentils & quinoa (separately) in hot water and then place in two sauce pans. Add 2 cups of chicken broth (or water if you aren't using it) to the lentils and 2 cups of water to the quinoa and bring each to boil. Cover both tightly, lower the heat to simmer and cook lentils for 30 min or until soft and the quinoa for 12-15 min and the water is absorbed.
While the lentils and quinoa are cooking. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a skillet and saute the onion and bell pepper for 3-4 minutes. (I had to use a yellow onion when I took pictures for this because my red onion was rotten-gross!) Turn off heat and put aside.
Start to make the vinaigrette by mincing your garlic and then sprinkling it with salt. Using a fork, mash the garlic into a paste. It will take a minute but the salt will make the garlic soft. Next whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Then whisk in the lemon zest, salt and pepper, and garlic paste.
Drain any extra liquid from the lentils and put both the lentils and quinoa in a large bowl. Add the cooked onion and pepper and then stir in the baby spinach while warm to wilt it. Finally, pour in the vinaigrette, toss in the tomatoes and parsley and stir till it's all combined. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. Chill or serve warm. The flavor gets better upon standing.
All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley