Lentil and Rice Salad

Serves 6 (or good for lunch all week!)

Dear Lentils,

You must know how much I love you since  I always have at least 3 of you (red, brown and Le Puy) fully stocked in my pantry.   You are a superstar legume because you’re so easy to cook, so delicious and really so good for my health.  This time I decided to make a salad with you.  This is the kind of dish I will prepare with you at the beginning of the week and will have in my fridge until it finishes. You guarantee me a good lunch when I don’t have much time to put anything together.  You also guarantee that I won’t go for the default lunch, the sandwich, which while not bad can add up to a lot of gluten by the end of the week.  For variations I top you beauties with avocado (of course) or mix with salad greens.  If I’ve got a plantain in the kitchen, I’ll throw that in the oven and have that as a side.  Whatever it is, little lentil, you’re the star of this show.

So what makes you the nutrition powerhouse that you are?  Well, you’re endowed with some pretty special powers.  Your fiber content, both soluble and insoluble, is through the roof.  I know this is good for my digestive system as well as my heart.  Because of your fiber content, you’re also a great blood sugar regulator.  Then, somehow in that little round bean, you also harbor magnesium which is great for the cardiovascular system because you keep calcium in check and the veins free and clear from any blockages.  As a vegetarian I relied on you often for your iron and protein levels. And, throughout my pregnancy, I kept coming back because of all that essential folate I needed.  All this and you’re not high in fat or calories.  You’re awesome, lentils.  Oh, and apparently eating you is good for the Earth!  (Click here to find out how.)

I’ll be back to make more with you, but for now I’ll enjoy you in this delish salad.

Thanks again, lentils.

Love,

Nathalie

You’ll need:

1 C long grain brown rice, soaked overnight in 2C water + 1T lemon juice

1 T extra-virgin olive oil

1 C Le Puy Lentils, rinsed

1 1″ piece kombu

1 bay leaf

1 t sea salt

2 carrots, grated

2 scallions, finely chopped

1/2 C flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

2 T mint, finely chopped

For the dressing:

1 t cumin seeds, toasted

1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 C champagne vinegar (or apple cider vinegar would be lovely, too)

1/4 C fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 T lemon zest (from an organic lemon please)

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make:

1. Get the rice going first.  Place rice and water in a saucepan with a pinch of salt and 1 T olive oil.   Place on high heat until it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 4o minutes.  Let cool.

2. Place rinsed lentils in a pot with about 3 cups of water, kombu and bay leaf and cook over medium heat, partially covered, for about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.  Discard kombu and bay leaf and let cool.

3. While the rice and lentils are cooking, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk well.

4. In a large bowl, add rice and lentils and combine well before adding the carrots, scallions, parsley and mint.  Once all is combined well, add dressing and stir to coat.

5. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors marry and settle.  They will love each other and you will love it all the more!

6. Enjoy!

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