Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Easy Lentil Salad

Aren't those lentils gorgeous?! I'm feeling so relieved today, the stress of the past few days, when I was waiting in anticipation to determine my fate with something, has dissipated. The outcome, not so great, but I'd rather know which way I'm going than hang in mid-air. Yeah, I'm one of those people, I have to know. Good or Bad, just tell me, I can take it.So now I know and I say, c'est la vie! Maybe another time.

So, the stress has passed, and with it my ravenous attack on serotonin boosting foods - ie carbs, sugar, is gone. I feel better and I want to treat my body to something healthy.

Today, I want to take charge of my eating again, and I decided to make my favorite and very easy lentil salad. For the effort it involves (which is very little) , this salad packs a flavorful punch!
As great as lentils are, they can be very high in total calories. That fact is always lost on me because I always assume boiled lentils are healthy (which they are) and that I really dont need to portion control them. Their high fiber content also means they fill you up quickly, so try to measure the amount of cooked lentils you use for your salad - that way you are in control of what/how much you are eating. As a result, I bulk up this salad with cucumber and red cabbage - both of which I love and add very little calories and fill you up!
How can you go wrong with that? ! This salad also has red onions, but only in a small quantity, surely you dont want to use onions to bulk this salad up! if you catch my drift.
I usually cook lentils and keep them in the fridge and make salads and other things as needed. There is an upfront time investment, but makes for nice, quick meals which I love to do. If you are making this for the first time, you will invest about 40 mins in cooking the lentils, but you put them on the stove and forget about them. They really dont need to be watched, so its still an easy recipe.
If you use a pressure cooker, your lentil cooking time will be about 10 mins. See the recipe for details.

- Puy Lentils (1 or 1 1/2 cup cooked lentils)
- 1/2 Red Onion
- 1/4 small Red Cabbage (or more, depending on how much bulk you want to add to the salad)
- 1/2 English Cucumber
- Handful Coriander or Parsley
- 1/4 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Cumin Powder
- 1/2 Lemon Juice
- 3-4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 5-6 Fresh Sage leaves (optional)


Cooking Lentils

- If cooking lentils on stove top, wash lentils and cover them in twice as much water, add sage leaves if using. ( I have a sage plant in my herb garden, its the only reason I use it. I never buy sage at the supermarket, so please skip it if you dont have any)
- Add 1 tbsp Olive Oil and cover the lentils and cook them on medium high heat. Check after 20 mins to ensure there is still enough water to cook the lentils.Otherwise add water. The lentils have another 10-20 mins of cooking to go, depending on the quantity you are cooking.

*Note: Do *not* add salt to the lentils while they are cooking. Salt interferes with the cooking process and leaves lentils hard.

Salad Assembly

- Chop red onions and put them in your salad bowl/box. I like to use some sort of container with a lid, since it makes tossing the salad super easy.
- To the red onions, add red chilli powder (skip if you dont like the raw heat), coriander and cumin powder. Add lemon juice, salt and olive oil and let this sit while you chop other ingredients. This allows the red onions to soften and lose their sharp edge.
- Chop cucumber into small bite size pieces.
- For the red cabbage, I used my mandolin slicer for the first time today and I will never slice red cabbage with knife again. I was worried the layers in the cabbage may fall apart on a mandolin so I always used a knife. The cabbage was always too thick when I cut with a knife. When sliced using a mandolin, the red cabbage is so thin, it just melts in your mouth. Ofcourse, dont fret if you dont have one, just slice with a knife as thinly as your dexterity permits.
- Add the cucumber and red cabbage to the salad bowl as you chop them.
- At the end, add the cooked lentils and chopped cilantro/parsley.
- Add remaining lemon juice and olive oil, shut the lid on the container, and shake vigorously before eating.

Make a big batch and stick it in the fridge. Salad stays nice and crunchy for a couple of days.Take it to the beach or park while enjoying the warm weather outside!

No comments:

Post a Comment