Sunday, May 13, 2012

Peppier than Popeye

Even though I didn't indulge in my favorite guacamole and margarita holiday last weekend, I still feel like I could use a break. From food and stuff. So I'm looking to my old lentil standby to help me out. Lentils are high in protein and fiber as well as folate, vitamin B1 and potassium among several other nutrients. Combining lentils with quinoa, which also offers complete protein as well as nine essential amino acids, makes a super-hard-core-healthy meal. I mean, it's got to be better than Popeye's plain old spinach!

For this salad I used what I had laying around, which wasn't much, but you could certainly add loads more of your fave veggies, feta or goat cheese and even some sliced almonds for extra crunch. My little twist with this recipe is using black (or beluga) lentils and tri-color quinoa, just for some visual interest. I'm feeling better already!

Black Lentil and Tri-Color Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa (white or red or tri-color)
1 cup lentils (black or green or brown)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, grated
Zest of one lemon

1 cup chopped olives
1 small zucchini, diced
1/3 cup basil, chopped
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place the quinoa in a mesh colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Add the quinoa and two cups of water to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile rinse the lentils with cold water and place in another medium saucepan. Cover with at least an inch of water, bring to a boil, cover, and then simmer until tender but not falling apart, 15 - 18 minutes.

3. While the quinoa and lentils are cooking, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest in a small bowl. Set aside.

4. Drain the cooked lentils and toss with the quinoa and lemon mixture in a large bowl. Set aside to cool.

5. Once the salad has cooled, mix in the chopped herbs, olives, zucchini and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serves about six.

Dry Black Lentils

Dry Tri-Color Quinoa

Cooked Tri-Color Quinoa

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