Showing posts with label quick. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quick. Show all posts

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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Decadent dip: balsamic black bean hummus

Hummus, that fabulous middle eastern spread made from chickpeas (also known as garbonzo beans) and tahini is a great dip for raw veggies, whole grain crackers and pita as well as a tasty spread on sandwiches and in wraps. My gripe? Dried beans cost pennies while an 8oz tub of prepared hummus can cost three bucks! If you have a food processor, making hummus at home is a snap.

Chickpeas!
This is a twist on the classic version using black beans, and replaces the traditional lemon flavor with balsamic vinegar. Grind the beans and seasonings in the food processor until velvety and smooth and voila! You have a sophisticated appetizer for you and your friends (if you can bring yourself to share!).

Added bonuses? This appeals to vegetarians and vegans, and if you choose gluten-free dippers, you can feed this to your gluten-free friends too. Carnivore approved, as well :) 

This packs well for snacks and picnics on the road without risk of spoilage; there is no meat or dairy to worry about spoiling quickly!

Balsamic Black Bean Hummus

  • 2 16-oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed (or half of one pound of dried beans, cooked until tender)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Load up your food processor with black beans

Add balsamic vinegar and olive oil

Pinch of salt and lots of fresh pepper...blend for a full 2-3 minutes or until very smooth

Serve with fresh veggies and whole grain crackers!
 I used dried beans to make this recipe. Total cost for about 16 ounces of dip? Less than a dollar! Woot!


Like what you're reading? Feel free to share this article on facebook and twitter using the buttons below. You can also like me on facebook and follow my twitter feed:

facebook.com/hollylarsonmsrd
@HollyLarsonRD

Thank you for visiting my blog!
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