Monday, June 18, 2012

Lovely legumes: Confetti Lentil Salad

Lovely legumes: Confetti Lentil Salad



Legumes, your humble beans, are quite the nutrition power house. They're loaded with protein and fiber, they have complex carbohydrates for sustained energy and they're low in fat. They are also a good source of B vitamins (important for releasing energy from food) as well as iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium (maintaining healthy bones, blood and more). And the best part? They're cheap!

So what gives? Many folks think that they don't like beans. Or they think they take too long to cook. Or they're afraid of certain, er, effects after eating beans. To this I reply; with the right recipe, beans are DELICIOUS! Some beans do take long to cook, but if you make good use of your slow cooker or use canned beans, you can get over this hurdle too. As for the gas? Just build up your intake of beans slowly. This too will subside.

Lentils are a great "gateway" legume because they're super fast to cook. They go from dried to cooked in 20 minutes flat! They're also tiny and cute, so they're easier to hide amongst your veggies for the bean-phobes in your life.

Here is a great recipe I adapted from the Biggest Loser website.

Lovely legumes: Confetti Lentil Salad
  • 2 cups cooked lentils (from 1/4 bag dried lentils, 4 ounces)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup queso seco
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Prepare your lentils according to package directions; mine took about 20 minutes boiling to be tender. 
  2. Chop your veggies and add them to the mixing bowl
  3. Measure the cheese and add to the bowl as well, followed by your dressing. 
  4. Enjoy right away, or let the flavors merry overnight before the big feast!
This recipe is incredibly flexible. Don't like cucumbers? Skip 'em! Have some roasted or grilled veggies left over? Toss 'em in! Think carrots should join the confetti party? I do too! 


I made 1/2 of a bag of lentils (8 ounces). I used 2 cups for this recipe and am saving 2 cups in the freezer for another time! Cook once, eat twice!

2 cups of lentils, ready to go!

Love those veggies! Is your cutting board looking dull or cracked? Check out this posting about cutting board maintenance.



chopped red bell pepper

I like to remove the seeds from cucumber using a spoon, but that's up to you!

Saving the veggie scraps (except for the onion skins) for the worm composter!

Almost ready!


It is important to measure those high-calorie ingredients such as cheese and olive oil

If you don't have access to a Latin grocery store, try feta, Gorgonzola or sharp cheddar cheese instead

Adding the queso seco, garlic, salt and pepper, olive oil and balsamic.

Yummy!


This recipe is vegetarian. If you'd prefer vegan, skip the cheese or substitute some grilled or roasted tofu. This is also good for those of you avoiding gluten, or feeding gluten-free friends!

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