Lemony Lentil Salad

Lately I've been bringing salads to work for lunch, but by the late afternoon I get mondo headaches because I've had such a wimpy lunch. While salad is a good idea, I think I need more protein and complex carbs to get me through my day! Last night, I whipped up some lentil salad from some dried organic French green lentils I got from my favorite health food store, Brighter Day, in Savannah Georgia. I'd been wanting to make something with them for a long time, and using them in this salad was definitely worthwhile. I cooked the lentils with lots of "flavoring agents," such as onion, garlic, lemon rind, cumin and cloves. The cloves might sound weird, but their sweet muskiness contrasts the earthiness of lentils beautifully. The dressing was nice and bright with lemon juice and cumin. To cut through the monochromatic green of the salad, I took a tip from Veganomicon's lentil salad and added some radish not just for the texture, but the contrasting color. I actually do feel more energized with lentils than I do lettuce!

Lemony Lentil Salad

For the lentils:

1 cup dried organic French green lentils, rinsed and picked over
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 strip of lemon rind (the circumference of the lemon)
1/4 of a white onion
2 whole cloves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp cumin

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to boil over high heat.
2. While the water is coming to a boil, remove the papery skin from the onion and cut the thinnest sliver of the root end off in order to keep the leaves of the onion intact. Insert the cloves into the onion.
3. Once the water is boiling, add all of the ingredients, and stir to combine. Bring the water back to a boil, drop the heat to medium, and partially cover the pan with a lid. Cook the lentils until they are tender, but are not mushy, about 30 minutes (they will continue to soften once they are added to the dressing).
4. Drain any remaining water from the lentils once they are cooked and extract the flavoring agents.

For the dressing and the rest of the salad:

2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 radishes, quartered and sliced
2 scallions, sliced
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley

1. Add the first 5 ingredients to the salad bowl and blend. Then, slowly drizzle the oil in and whisk to combine.
2. Add the lentils, radishes, and scallions to the dressing.
3. Cover the salad and allow it to sit in the fridge overnight. Toss the parsley in the salad before serving.

Servings per recipe: 4
Per serving:
Calories: 214
Fat: 4 g
Saturated fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 305 mg
Carbohydrates: 31.9 g
Fiber: 15.1 g
Sugar: 2.8 g
Protein: 12.8 g

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