August 25, 2014

Lentil Salad with Capers and Balsamic-Dijon Dressing

Lentils! It seems like they're gaining popularity lately - which in my opinion, they totally deserve. They're inexpensive, easy to cook, and pack a big nutrient and protein punch. I always keep them on hand since they do cook pretty quickly, and are easy to throw in soups and salads. After making this dish a few times, my husband called it one of his favorite lentil dishes so I knew I needed to get up for you guys. It may look modest, but don't be fooled - the big flavors make it hard for us to put down the spoon! The simple balsamic-dijon dressing brings it all together, while the capers add a nice, salty pop. Chives can be a little harder to find, so replace with a little shallot or green onion if needed. We like to keep a batch of this in the fridge throughout the week for quick snacks, and it's an awesome choice for packed lunches!

Vegan, gluten-free

1 cup dry brown lentils
3 roma tomatoes
2-3 oz. spinach
1/4 cup chives (or shallot or green onion)
2 Tbsp. capers

{For the dressing}
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced

Cook lentils according to package directions, leaving firm, not mushy.
While lentils are cooking, make the dressing: in a small bowl combine all ingredients and whisk.
Roughly chop the spinach and chives, and dice tomatoes. Place in a large bowl.
When lentils are done cooking, drain, and immediately add to large bowl with spinach and tomatoes. The heat from the lentils will slightly wilt the spinach.
Add the dressing and capers and stir to combine.

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Eat all the lentils!

August 17, 2014

Fiesta Bean Salad

Summer's not over yet, so that means I'm still happily swimming in salads over here. I can't stop! This one is made pretty hearty with a great protein boost from all the beans. Garbanzos and black beans are my two favorites, so I love getting them together to join forces in the same dish. I've always been a huge fan of the cumin-lime-garlic combination and it's the perfect way to make this salad shine. Can't go wrong with those southwestern flavors! This is definitely a great choice for packed lunches and BBQ's/picnics as well.

Vegan, gluten-free
Adapted from Skinnytaste

15 oz. can garbanzo beans
15 oz. can black beans
3 roma tomatoes
1/2 small red onion (less to taste)
1/3 cup cilantro
1 avocado
Optional: bell pepper, jalapeno, corn, etc.

{For the dressing}
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice from 1 lime
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt

Make the dressing: in a small bowl, add all ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Rinse and drain beans. Add to a medium bowl.
Dice tomatoes, roughly chop cilantro, and finely dice red onion. Add to the beans.
Pour dressing over bean mixture and stir.
Peel and dice avocado. Add it to the salad and lightly toss to combine.
Can serve immediately or chill for at least an hour. (If not serving immediately, you can add the avocado right before serving to prevent it from browning if you wish.)

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Dig these flavors? Try 'em here too! :)

July 29, 2014

Wild Rice Spinach Salad with Lemon-Garlic Dressing

We are in love with this salad! All summer we've been chowing down all sorts of lettuce, bean, and quinoa salads, so I wanted to make an earthy rice salad instead. It was the perfect change of pace! I love the chewy texture and nutty flavor of wild rice. It's complimented nicely with fresh spinach and a simple lemon-garlic dressing that really brightens it up. (Not to mention the beautiful rainbow of veggies!) It's a highly adaptable recipe, so play around as you see fit. You can substitute the wild rice with black rice, brown rice, quinoa, or other grain. If you're needing a protein boost, toss in some hemp hearts or beans (I loaded ours with hemp hearts right after taking these pictures - they're perfect in here!) Fresh herbs are a lovely addition as well. This meal is great served chilled or at room temp, making it a great choice for take-along lunches, BBQ's, potlucks, etc. Enjoy!

Vegan, gluten-free

1 cup wild rice
3 oz. spinach
8 oz. grape tomatoes
1 orange bell pepper
1 cup corn (thawed, if frozen)
3-4 green onions
Optional: hemp hearts, beans, fresh herbs

{For the dressing}
Juice from 1 lemon (about 3-4 Tbsp.)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt

Cook rice according to package directions. (1 cup rice to 4 cups water.)
While rice is cooking, make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients and set aside.
Prep the veggies: dice the bell pepper, slice green onions, halve/quarter the tomatoes, and roughly chop the spinach. Place all veggies in a large bowl.
When rice is done cooking, drain and excess water and add to the large veggie bowl. Toss to combine. The spinach will slightly wilt from the heat.
Whisk the dressing and pour over the salad. Stir to combine.
Serve immediately, or chill for an hour or more.

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Keep 'em comin!
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