Lentil & Quinoa Salad

June 5, 2016

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I fell in love with this salad when I tried it at a pot luck a few years ago. I tracked down the person who brought the dish to get the recipe at the party because it was so good.

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I fell in love with it again when I made it for a bbq last year. It perfectly compliments all grilled food and other salads on your plate, like a sort of pot luck glue.

And then I made it again this week, when its combination of textures and flavors and it’s perfect kick of vinegar called to me. And I fell in love with it all over again.

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I have to admit I think this salad looks like a snooze. But that is part of the delight, because appearances can be deceiving. When you bite into it, you get a total play on textures – the quinoa feels creamy, the lentils meaty and toothsome, the crunch of the peppers and green beans and onions and nuts so interesting. Then the flavors of thyme and vinegar dance around in-between it all and it really feels like a symphony. 

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This is also super easy to make, just a matter of cooking the quinoa and lentils and doing a bit of chopping while they cook. The colors make this dish so pretty too.

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So get ready to be stalked by the foodies at your next party because they will come asking. Or just make if for yourself and have this deliciousness waiting in your fridge to be paired with steak and blue cheese, chicken and feta, or fish and a creamy dressing. Or just to eat alone by the bowl full. And then be prepared to wake up feeling amazing, because this is health food with fantastic flavor.

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Happy eating, Katie

Quinoa and Lentil Salad (printer version here):

1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed

1 (14.5 oz.) can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup canned small brown lentils, cooked according to package

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup frozen cut green beans, defrosted

1/2 cup chopped orange bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp. dried thyme

3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp lemon pepper

1 Tbsp. canola oil

2 Tbsp. lightly toasted pine nuts (optional)

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa with the broth. Cover and set over medium-high heat until the broth boils. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the grains of quinoa are pearl-like and slightly al dente, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat, let the covered pot sit for 10 minutes, then uncover and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

Place the cooked quinoa in a mixing bowl. Add the lentils, tomato, green beans, pepper, red onion, walnuts and thyme. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and salt until the salt dissolves. Whisk in the lemon pepper and oil. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix to combine, using a fork.

If possible, let the salad sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Or, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Garnish with lightly toasted pine nuts, if desired.

Makes 12 servings, 1/2 cup per serving.

Per serving: 80 calories, 3.5 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 10 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein,

2 g dietary fiber, 170 mg sodium

recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research

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