Chilled Lentil Salad

Most people do not eat many lentils, but they’re a great food to try and incorporate into your diet more often. Technically legumes, they are high in protein (especially great for vegetarians), and have a multitude of vitamins like magnesium, iron, zinc and vitamin B.  They’re also good to lower cholesterol, but perhaps the best part is that these little guys are extremely filling which isn’t always the case with healthy foods.

I’ve been trying to eat lentils more often, and this week’s recipe is my first stab at a chilled lentil salad. I used to think that lentils were hard to cook, and generally stayed away from them. After reading up a bit, I realized I was wrong – they’re just about as easy to cook as rice. Some might think lentils can get a bit bland, but that’s why I’ve added some kick with Serrano peppers for this recipe. The onions throughout help to add a bit of crunch, and the spinach is just plain tasty. This is a great to-go lunch or side dish for dinner.

photo incorporates tomatoes which aren’t in this recipe, but feel free to add them in! (via the grub daily)

Ingredients:

2 Cups of Dried Green Lentils

6 Cups of Hot Water

5 Cups of Spinach

3 Serrano Peppers

1 Red Onion

½ Tbsp Cumin Seeds

½ Tbsp Minced Ginger

2 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil

Directions:

Pour dried lentils into a strainer and pick over for any bad looking bits.

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Rinse a few times, mixing around with your hand to be sure every piece gets rinsed well.

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Throw into a pot, with 6 cups of hot water, and let cook for about 25-30 minutes.

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Slice onion and peppers, mince ginger, and throw into a saucepan with grapeseed oil to sauté.

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While that is sautéing mix cumin seeds into your lentils, and then begin to stir in spinach. You’ll have to stir it in bit by bit as bulky spinach moistens and wilts, creating space to add more.

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Once onions begin to appear transparent, mix everything in the sauce pan into your lentils. Let sit until they reach room temperature, and then stick them in the fridge to chill overnight.

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Okay, it’s not the prettiest food out there, but it sure is delicious – and good for you!

Superfood Sushi Salad Bowl

This week’s recipe is part 2 of my coverage on Julie Morris’s recipe book, Superfood Cuisine.   This time around as a big sushi lover, I decided to replicate her Sushi Salad Bowl.  I’d never thought of putting a salad like this together before, but with the first bite, I quickly fell in love. I think what makes it so delicious is a combination between the Nori sheets and ginger dressing (I’m a huge love of ginger dressing). These two ingredients combined, I just couldn’t get enough. Dare I say, I might even like it more than sushi. I paired the salad with a side of edamame, put my new Hong Kong-purchased chopsticks to use, and had a wonderful dinner. It was simple to throw together, and I can’t wait to share this guilt-free dinner with friends.

Ingredients:

3 ½ Cups of cooked brown or wild rice (about 1 ¼ cups uncooked)

3 Cups of Sunflower Sprouts (or any other sprouts you’d like to use – I used an alfalfa blend)

1 Handful onion sprouts (or scallions)

4 Nori Sheets

1 Carrot

Ginger or Shoyu dressing to taste

Directions:

Throw sprouts into a large bowl. Grate carrot, (if you’re using scallions) chop scallions, and throw them into the bowl along with sprouts.

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Cut 4 Nori sheets in half.

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Make one pile, and cut in half again.

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Make one pile, and now cut them going the other way to make lots of small strips.

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Scatter the Nori sheets around. Once you add the dressing they will clump together if they’re all in one place.

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Make sure rice is room temperature, and add it to the mixture.

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Mix it all up.

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Add dressing & mix again.

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Serve!

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Meditteranean Orzo Salad

I wish I could list all of the reasons why I love this salad, but you might all think I’ve gone crazy and stop reading this post. I’ll stick to the highlights. Reason A) you can stick a huge bowl of it in the fridge, and continue to eat it for days – cold or hot. Reason B) Orzo is a huge comfort food although you never hear it portrayed as one. And reason C) It gets its amazing flavor from fresh Rosemary I have planted in my backyard – I love, love, love the freshness (don’t worry it’s still good if you buy it too). Basically, I highly suggest giving it a go – you’ll probably come up with some of your own reasons to fall in love ;).

Ingredients:

1 Cup Orzo

2 Cups Water

¾ Cups Shrimp shelled and deveined (I like to take the tails all the way off for this recipe)

½ Cup Feta

1 Large Tomato seeded and diced

½ Cup Chopped Kalamata Olives

½ Cup Olive Oil

2 Sprigs of Rosemary

2 Cloves Garlic minced

1/4Tspn Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place orzo and water into a pot, cover and cook until all the water is evaporated – just like cooking rice
  2. In a small saucepan place 1tbs of olive oil, minced garlic cloves, shrimp, and one sprig of Rosemary broken into three pieces. Saute until shrimp is fully cooked.
  3. Place shrimp, tomato, kalamata olives, feta, orzo, olive oil, garlic powder, and last sprig of rosemary (broken up into about 5 pieces) into a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Salt & Pepper to taste
  5. Stick in the fridge to chill or eat warm

**When serving, a nice option is to put it over a bed of greens.