Pack a salad with lentils and get a good supply of vitamins A and B along with iron. Quick-cooking, hulled Red Chief legumes are used in this recipe from Heidi Timmons. She began using the ingredient in salads when she moved from Chile to Washington, where the nation's largest crop of lentils is produced in great variety in the Palouse area.
1 cup Red Chief or regular brown lentils
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
3/4 cup coarsely chopped red or yellow bell peppers
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup diced (1/4 in.) cucumber
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper
How to Make It
Sort lentils and discard any debris. Rinse and drain lentils.
In a 2- to 3-quart pan, bring about 1 quart water to a boil over high heat. Add lentils, stir to separate, and simmer, uncovered, just until they are tender to bite but not soft, 5 to 10 minutes for Red Chiefs, 20 to 30 minutes for regular lentils. Drain.
Mix vinegar, oil, and garlic. Pour over warm lentils and gently mix. Let stand until cool.
Add bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, and feta cheese. Mix gently with lentils. Pour into a serving bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I loved this dish. Simple, easy, very flavorful. It's great as-is, but I often can't resist chopping up half an avocado on my portion. Today I took it one step further and added a dollop of creme fraishe and used it as a salsa alternative with tortilla chips. Delicious! Will definitely make again; it's a great salad to have sitting in the fridge for late-night feedings or to put in packed lunches.
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