This is one of my favorite solutions to “what’s for lunch?” Toss cooked lentils and whole grain with some shredded or chopped vegetables, a bit of fresh or dried fruit, crunchy nuts or seeds, and a good vinaigrette – voila! What’s for lunch is solved! Here’s one combination you can try.
2 cups cooked lentils*
2 cups cooked brown rice or other whole grain**
1 cup shredded carrot
2 cups steamed or raw kale, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
½ cup vinaigrette
freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. kosher salt
Per Serving: Calories: 490 | Sodium: 450 mg | Total Fat: 23 g Sat Fat: 2.5 g | Carbs: 59 g | Protein: 17 g | Fiber: 13 g
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
3 Tbs. minced red onion
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. honey
½ cup grapeseed oil, or other neutral tasting oil (canola, safflower)
Makes about 1 cup.
Per 2 Tbs. Serving: Calories: 130 | Sodium: 170 mg
*Cooking lentils is easy. French or black lentils are the best for salads but the more common brown and green will work too. For 2 cups of cooked lentils, put ¾ cup lentils with a bay leaf and whole clove of garlic in a medium pot with enough water to come up 2 inches above the lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender but not falling apart. Because we want salad lentils not soup, start checking your lentils at 20 minutes. When the lentils are tender, drain and throw away the bay leaf and garlic. Rinse under cold water to cool the lentils then toss in your salad.
**The easiest way to cook brown rice or any whole grain is the same way you cook pasta—in plenty of water—no measuring and no worrying required. Your grain will be ready in about 2/3 of the usual cooking time. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, stir in the rice, boil, partially covered, until tender but not mushy. Start checking (taste it to see if you like it) your rice at 25 minutes. When the rice is tender, drain and return to pot if serving hot or rinse if using cold.