A Salad for All Seasons

Lentil salad, YES! Macaroni salad, NO! Instead of cooking tasteless pasta to mix with tasty vegetables, aromatics and a tangy dressing, how about cooking up nutrient-dense lentils?  They work for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and omnivores. Lentils taste good with just about anything and they cook up in the time it takes to chop a few vegetables and gather the aromatics.

A delicious work of art for any time of the year. The recipe for this salad is posted elsewhere on my blog. I call it Feels Like Fall Lentil Salad, but who am I to limit having this salad only during cooler weather? I find that cooked lentils are perfect as the base for any number of ingredients. They are the blank canvas of the kitchen. It's easy to gather almost any vegetables that you may have in your refrigerator, use the vinegar and oil in my recipe and then go to town with any combination of chopped, sliced or diced vegetables. Boil them, grill them, roast them or leave them raw. This is your delicious work of art, so make it work for you. Here's the original post and recipe.

Everyone's friend. This customizable salad is a friend to all proteins. Although I love to eat it on its own as a satisfying lunch or no-fuss dinner, it's an excellent side to grilled steak, chicken, burgers, tofu--just about anything at all! At my house we have it as a side for dinner and we recruit it again for different meals throughout the week. This is a wonderful dish for people who live alone. I will keep it for a week. If you're comfortable doing the same, cook it when you're having friends over to dinner and enjoy the leftovers for your work desk lunch and I'm-so-tired-I-can't-cook dinner nights. Raise your hand if you've ever had one of those!

An example of how to customize for those who like examples--me! You, too? Here's what I did. I took the original recipe and used goat cheese instead of feta. I had lots of Thai basil, so I used that instead of fresh oregano. I always keep the basics--garlic, olive oil, onion. Other ideas:

  • Asian: Soy sauce instead of vinegar. Add toasted sesame seeds. Use garlic, cilantro and sliced green onion. For the vegetables: thinly sliced baby bok choi and mung bean shoots.
  • Go South of the Border: Use fresh lime juice instead of the vinegar. Add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. For the vegetables: cubed tomatoes and avocado. Diced radishes. Roasted corn. For the cheese, crumbled queso fresco.
  • KISS: Keep It Simple by using only the vinegar, oil, garlic and onion.
  • Anything Goes: Toasted nuts, sauteed spinach, pickled artichokes, cubed cooked sweet potatoes, butternut squash, fresh herbs, 


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