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Lemony Lentil and Quinoa Salad

Posted Apr 03 2012 3:45pm
I'm back from a whirlwind of a trip to New York City to attend the annualconference for the International Association ofCulinary Professionals . This year's theme was and upon leaving, I feel like I have a fabulous new wardrobe,replete with dazzling accessories.

So many amazing writers, chefs, bloggers, and a gamut of other food industryprofessionals, too, from specialty food producers and purveyors, literaryagents, food photographers, food editors, food PR pros and so much more. Itmight have been overwhelming had I not roomed with one of the most incrediblepeople ever, my friend and fellow blogger, Julie Hession . Wemarveled at the fabulous presenters (many, but in particular, Sara Moulton and Kim Severson !!!!), giggled about the (few)snarky ones (who will remain anonymous), shared notes from our sessions, ateheaps of yummy food, worked it off by tromping the streets, meeting great newfriends, and having what amounted to the best professional experience I've hadin my life.


Now I'm pooped, but, oh my, the to-do list before me is lengthy, my parentsare flying in from California on Thursday, my husband and son are in need ofmajor snuggle time (me too!), I'm behind on my editing, and there is a giantpile of laundry calling screaming my name.

Which is why I decided to make lunch instead.

In contrast to the rain and chill of New York, Nacogdoches is hot and muggy.No more soups and warm sandwiches (my on-the-run lunch for the past few days);I needed a cool, but filling salad. When I looked at what was on hand, I knewthe perfect recipe, one straight from the pages of my new book: a lemony lentiland quinoa salad.

This is an ideal dish for the transition period from winter to spring (or,here in Texas, the leap from mild winter to intense summer). It's all thefashion :)
The combination of quinoa and lentils, seasoned with salt and pepper, is incredibly 
delicious in its naked form--a great side dish or filling for burritos and quesadillas.
Three ingredients I try to have on hand for all sorts of dishes: flat leaf (Italian) parsley, 
green onions, and fresh lemons. So many quick meals can spawn 
from these three fresh ingredients!

Lemony Lentil and QuinoaSalad

Among the many wonderfulthings about quinoa is that it cooks quickly and is substantial without beingheavy, making it the perfect transition dinner from summer to fall.

Makes 6 main-dish servings
6 cups  water, divided 
1 cup   dried green lentils, rinsed        
1 cup   quinoa, rinsed  
1 tsp    dried tarragon 
1/2 tsp fine sea salt     
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper 
2 tsp    finely grated lemon zest          
3 tbsp  freshly squeezed lemon juice  
2 tbsp  extra virgin olive oil    
1 tsp    Dijon mustard
3/4 cup            thinly sliced green onions       
1 cup   packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsleyleaves, chopped         

1.         In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups (1 L) of the water to aboil over high heat. Add lentils, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutesor until tender but not mushy. Drain and let cool completely.
2.         Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, combine quinoa and the remaining water. Bring to a boil overmedium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until water is absorbed. Removefrom heat and let cool completely.
3.         In a small bowl, whisk together tarragon, salt, pepper,lemon zest, lemon juice, oil and mustard.
4.         In a large bowl, combine cooled lentils, cooled quinoa andgreen onions. Add dressing and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate forat least 1 hour, until chilled, or for up to 4 hours. Just before serving, addparsley and gently toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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