Wednesday, June 16, 2010
H-town's Favorite Lentil Salad
One of my best meatspace friends emailed me recently with this dilemma:
I'm trying not to eat bread because I think it's making me fat (and sugar for that matter). What do I eat? I'm tired of eggs, and I'm tired of almonds, and I don't and won't eat meat unless it came from an un-endangered fish. What do I do?
I think you have some answers.
I don't really know what I eat. Let's be honest, half the time we eat CRACKERS AND CHEESE for dinner because we're too lazy or too caught up to cook. BAD BAD BAD.
But. Quinoa, we eat a lot of quinoa. With stir fry or roast chicken (not helpful) or whatever. It's also good cold and salad-y with greens and goat cheese and maybe some pine nuts. Lots of soft polenta. (Often with eggs, though. You said you're sick of eggs.) Lots of risotto.
I really like this lentil dal recipe. I serve it with rice since I can't eat naan.
And then there's H's very favorite lentil salad:
Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette (adapted from a San Francisco Examiner Magazine recipe by Jim Wood my mom clipped for me a kajillion years ago)
1 cup lentils
5 cups water
1 tomato, cored and chopped
Sparse 1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped (kalamata olives work in a pinch, but they're not as good)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 stalks celery, trimmed and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (Thyme gives me hives, so I skip it. But maybe you like thyme.)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro or Italian parsley (I prefer cilantro)
1. Combine lentils and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and let cool. Add tomato, olives, feta and celery and toss.
2. Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, and thyme in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Whisk in salt and pepper. I find that the dressing is tastier if you let it sit for a little while. Gives the garlic time to marinate.
3. Pour vinaigrette over salad, toss and season to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve. (Or, if you decide to skip the thyme, add the cilantro to the dressing instead.)
This was intended as a first course but we eat it as a main. If you're feeling crazy, serve it over quinoa.* Delish! I usually double the recipe so we can have leftovers. It's even better the next day.
(Image by Julia Randall)
*I told you we eat a lot of quinoa. You can make it in the rice cooker, b/t/w. Same ratio as brown rice: 1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa. And I like to add a dash of olive oil.