Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Lentil Salad

I told you all that I did a bunch of cooking this weekend already. Well we did attempt a hike with some friends of ours on Sunday. We've been working on a portion of the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail this summer and brought our friends to where we last left off the trail. On our way there it was slightly raining but we're tough, well, actually they are tough and I was being a good sport. Anywho, off we go up the trail and our light summer sprinkle begins to quicken and larger drops were falling. No problem, we were going for a short hike anyway. Plus it's been so dry the rain is a relief and the canopy of trees above us was pretty thick so we were fairly covered.

Then, and then, the skies start booming and cracking with thunder and lightening. At this point, I'm soaked to the bone and we're heading back to the car. Let's just say I was happy it was August to be doing this and not October where I would be shivering. Ah well, at least we got out for a while.

After getting home and drying off I looked forward to cooking something warm.

Enter the lentil salad. This is less of a recipe and more of technique. I make this fairly regularly and swap in other veggies. Lentils are a great and almost complete source of protein (Joel assures me) which makes this a  good dish to bring for lunch or serve warm over a green salad for a light dinner.

Ok enough yakking and more cooking. The starting line-up.

Some pretty basic stuff - some veggies and lentils. I forgot to snap a pic of the items needed for the vinaigrette but they are just basic pantry items.

First up, cook the lentils (read: dump into some water, simmer and cover until tender) for about 40 minutes.

At the same time, dice up the veggies and saute.

They look so yummy! I sprinkle whatever spices I have handy and sound good to me that day. I believe for these I added salt, pepper and lemon pepper. It was a wonderful combo.

Whip up the vinaigrette and dump over veggies and lentils.

Viola! Easy-peasy.

Summer Lentil Salad

2 cups lentils - rinsed
1 onion diced
1 large carrot diced
1 small zucchini diced
1 small yellow squash diced
Nonstick cooking spray
salt and pepper

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vinegar (I used red wine vinegar but cider vinegar would be delicious too)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Start by thoroughly rinsing the lentils you would be surprised what random debris can be in a bag of lentils. Once rinsed put in a pot with a couple of inches of water covering the lentils. I am sure there is a more precise ratio but this way works just fine. Put top on pot and let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until softened. Drain any excess water.

While the lentils cook dice the vegetables. Heat skillet to medium-low heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Saute onions and carrots until onions are almost translucent and carrots have started soften about 5-7 minutes. Be sure to season the saute with salt and pepper. Also, I add an "italian seasoning" mix I always have on hand but really any sort of seasoning you're in the mood for will work - how about lemon pepper seasoning?  Add zucchini and squash for an additional 10 minutes.

Add mustard, lemon, and vinegar to a small bowl. Slowly add olive oil while whisking to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Toss warm lentils and warmed vegetables together with vinaigrette. Serve warm over a bed of salad greens.


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