I am always looking for meals ideas for “Meatless Mondays,” or any other day of the week for that matter. Beans or Legumes are a great vegetarian option because they are a great source of protein, folate, and fiber; which makes them a great anit-cancer food. They contain soluble fiber which keeps your blood sugar low and stable. Legumes are a slow burning and long lasting source of energy, so they keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. This also makes them optimal for people with diabetes.
Lentils are a member of the legume family and they originated in the Mediterranean Region thousands of years ago. Lentil were domesticated as early at 8000 BCE and were found in civilizations in the middle east. Egypt, Greece, Syria, and Turkey valued lentils for their flavor and versatility. See my previous post for Roasted Fall Vegetables with Lentils for another recipe and for more information on lentil’s cancer prevention properties. Lentil are high in vitamin B6, folate, fiber, protein, pantothenic acid, thiamine, manganese, iron, copper, potassium, and zinc. They are also a good source of vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, and selenium. They also contain antioxidants.
This recipe for lentil salad is very easy to prepare. Unlike most dried beans lentils do not require soaking prior to cooking, and they cook up fairly quickly. This salad is wonderful served with salmon for a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids (as pictured), but also makes a great meatless meal. This recipe was adapted from Ina Garten’s Warm French Lentil Salad.
One Cup Serving of Cooked Lentils Contains:
18 g protein
15.6 g fiber
Lentil Salad Recipe
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 leek (white and light green part only), cleaned well to remove sand and finely diced
3 to 4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups lentils, preferably green french lentils but you can use any type of lentil for this dish
1 onion peeled and stuck with 8 whole cloves
For the dressing
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the leek and carrot in a skillet for about 5-6 minutes.
Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Place the leek and carrot in a large bowl.
Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil with the onion and cloves. Add the lentils and reduce heat to medium low, or a simmer.
Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until tender.
Drain the lentils and discard the onion.
Make the dressing by combining the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. (whisk in a small bowl or place in a small jar and shake to combine.
Add the lentils to the leek and carrot mixture and toss with the dressing while hot.