Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Marinated Lentil Salad

If you know you need to eat your lentils, but don't like them overcooked and mushy, then this salad is for you. The lentils get only a quick simmer (15 minutes) so they retain their shape and texture. And really, we all need to eat our lentils; I've always known they were high in protein and fiber, but glancing at the package tonight, I realized one 1/4 cup of dried lentils has a walloping 15 grams of fiber - that's 60% of your daily requirement. Eat up.

For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegan sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the salad:
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsnip
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dried lentils
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1. To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, sugar, and black pepper.  Set aside.

2. To prepare the salad, add the parsnip and carrot to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute, until tender.  Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon.

3. Add the lentils and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until tender. Drain over a colander, and let the lentils cool.

4. Combine the lentils in a bowl with the parsnip, carrot, celery, green onions, and parsley.  Stir in the vinaigrette and let marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. I gave the salad a touch longer - about 40 minutes before serving.

I served with homemade biscuits, and added Brussels sprouts as an extra veggie to round out the meal. 

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (2/3 cup), Calories 186

Tasting Notes:
Though I worried the vinegar and lemon juice would be too strong, the vinaigrette had a nice balance, with tart and astringent flavors tempered by the olive oil. The salad itself  was nice, but I found myself wanting a creamy element. The soft, cooked parsnip came closest, so I would blanch the celery too instead of leaving it raw. This salad would be better stuffed in a pita pocket or rolled up in flatbread; it was a touch plain on its own.


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