Salads & Veggies

Red Lentil & Tart-Apple Salad (masoor dal)

You gotta be quick! Red lentils are little guys that cook fast. But the good news is, you can make this protein-packed, colorful, and fresh salad in under 30 minutes.

Note: Make sure you have a fine mesh strainer in your arsenal – a big old pasta colander won’t work here.

Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 10 Minutes

2 cups water

¾ cup red lentils

2 stalks celery

1 tart apple (Granny Smith work well)

2 Tbsp lemon juice

4 green onions

1 red bell pepper

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

¼ tsp coarse salt

Cayenne pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and a couple shakes of cayenne pepper, stir and set aside.

Wash and trim the green onions and cut into fine rings, including some tender green parts. Cut the apple into slices and then into strips. Cut the red pepper into similar sized strips as the apple and thinly slice the celery stalks. Toss all the veggies in a large bowl with the lemon juice.

In a medium sauce pan, stir together the red lentils and water and bring to a gradual boil on medium to medium high heat. Don’t go anywhere because this won’t take long…. As soon as it comes to a boil, stir and reduce heat to low. Test a few – they should still be a little firm (the color will be a little darker at the center) – stir again and stand over the slowly simmering pot. In about 2 minutes, stir and test again…they should be done. Remove from heat immediately and drain well into a fine strainer. Run some cold water around the sides of the strainer, but not directly over the lentils, then toss gently, and repeat the cold water around the side thing and the toss again to release any excess water.

Transfer the lentils to the bowl with the veggies and fold together gently first, then add the dressing you made earlier. Toss gently again to mix. Let it hang out for a while to rest, toss again, and serve.

Tip 1: I prefer to remove some of the Granny Smith apple skin, but not all. Wash them well too…they can be waxy.

Tip 2: Toast some chopped walnuts or pine nuts and sprinkle on top!

Enjoy!

Lentil Salad (sabut masoor)

Lentils can be a little daunting when you’re not just using them for tasty soup. When cooking they can turn on you pretty quickly and become the consistency of baby food. Be sure to read the process instructions below before you start the recipe and I hope it helps. Once you get confident, you’ll be cooking them all the time as they make a great palette for many different flavor traditions.

An excellent source of protein, lentils are very inexpensive – you can buy them bulk or in a 1 pound cello bag for under a dollar. Ounce for ounce, lentils contain as much protein as steak and tons more fiber.

Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 30 Minutes / Refrigeration Time: 2 hours

2 cups lentils

2 tsp salt

1 medium onion stuck with 2 or 3 cloves

1 bay leaf

1 tsp thyme

½ cup olive oil

1 ½ cup of finely sliced green onion

¼ finely chopped bell pepper (red or orange works nice here)

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

4 Tbps white wine or apple cider vinegar

1 ½ tsp black pepper

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Put the lentils in a pot and add water to cover by about 1”. Add the salt, clove stabbed onion, along with the bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low and cover. It’s kinda like you’re cooking rice, but you’re going to want to check and stir them about every 5 minutes. Not a violent stir, just fold them over and quickly recover the pot. Simmer this way until the lentils are just tender, but still firm. About 30 minutes. As with beans, test a couple to make sure – just one lentil could be lying to you.

You’re going to have some liquid left over but that’s cool – drain well, remove the plugged onion (say ‘thank you’ and discard), and transfer the lentils to a large bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the olive oil and again, fold them over to mix. Let cool, but not completely, then add the rest of the ingredients and the remaining olive oil, but just half the parsley. Toss gently to mix.

Put in the refrigerator and let it rest and cool for at least an hour.

When serving, add the remaining chopped parsley and grind a little more black pepper over the top and add a little extra olive oil if needed…a squeeze of lemon here wouldn’t be bad either.

Enjoy!

Falafel Pizza

This is a fun & fresh lunch to share and it’s super easy to make.

Where I live there are some amazing falafel places, so I don’t bother making my own. You can for sure, but for this recipe I use Fantastic World Foods Falafel Mix – you just add water and wait a few minutes until it firms up a little.

Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cook Time: 20-25 Minutes / Total Time: 1 hour

For the Falafel Crust

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Packaged Falafel Mix – I use Fantastic World Foods Brand – Prep according to package directions. Instead of making balls, line a cookie sheet with parchment and gather the firm mixture and flatten it out. You should end up with about a 12” crust, about ½” thick. Bake in a 375-degree Fahrenheit preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The bottom should be lifting from the parchment and it should slide, not stick, when pushed. Let cool at room temperature.

Herbed Yogurt Dressing

1 cup plain plant-based yogurt (regular…greek-style is too thick)

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Sprinkle of dried dill, oregano, black pepper, and salt

Stir and let rest

Veggie Toppings

I go with the classics, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumber, a little spring mix, spiralized zucchini, red bell peppers, red onion…etc.

The Build

After the falafel crust cools spread a layer of your hummus of choice. At this point, I prefer to cut the crust into 6 or 8 slices and plate them and build the salad on top (as pictured)…slicing through all those layers will just crush the whole thing. Pile the veggies on and dress with the yogurt sauce and a grind or two of black pepper.

Just a note: Do not expect to pick this up like a slice of pizza…better to serve with a fork. Variations are endless – adjust to your taste and imagination!

Enjoy!

Farro Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Pecans

Prep time: 30 minutes / Cook time: 45 minutes / Total Time: 1.5 hours

Dressing (prep in a mason jar, cover and shake, let sit for a while while you chop):

1/3 cup Olive Oil

2/3 cup Sherry Vinegar (I’m not a huge fan of oily vinaigrettes)

1 teaspoon each – Tarragon, Thyme, Basil, Ground White Pepper, dry mustard

2 tablespoons Kosher Salt and a couple twists of black pepper

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

Salad:

1 cup of cooked Farro, cooled & drained well

1 lb of cleaned Brussels sprouts, shaved into a thin slaw

5 carrots, small dice or grated

1 lb of cherry/grape tomatoes – slice half, keep half whole

3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

1/4 cup chopped yellow onion

Make the dressing and cook the farro.

Chop your onion and peeled carrots, slice your Brussels sprouts in half first, then slice thin vertically but at a slight angle. Toast some chopped pecans in a small pan on medium heat – watching carefully and tossing frequently – probs about 4-5 minutes. Be careful!! Pecans burn in an instant and remember to take them off a little earlier than you think because they’ll continue cooking with the residual heat. Chop the pecan and mix all these dry veggies together and let them hang out for a while in a big bowl.

Is your farro drained and cool? Add and mix that in and halve half of your tomatoes and toss. Is it all nicely mixed? Add the dressing and toss again lightly. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Orange & Radish Salad with Mint

This recipe for my Mom. She loves radishes! My Mom & Dad will plant these first thing every spring and see how many crops they can get in before the weather stops cooperating. With a salt shaker handy, they’ll eat them like popcorn while they wait for the next batch to get big enough to harvest.

This citrusy salad will make a flavorful, fresh (and inexpensive) complement to your holiday table!

Prep Time: 10 minutes / Refrigeration Time: 2 hours

½ cup lemon juice

2 Tbsp sugar

¼ tsp salt

4 large navel oranges

1 bunch red radishes

2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Zest of 1 lemon & 1 orange

In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, sugar, and salt and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Set aside.

With a sharp knife, slice the tops and bottoms off of the oranges. With one of those flat sides on the cutting board, guide your knife under the peel from top to bottom to remove the peel and pith. Hold the now naked orange in the palm of your clean hand and over a large bowl slice out the sections, letting the juice and orange segments fall into the bowl. Clean, trim, and thinly slice the radishes (I use a box grater). Combine and toss with the oranges. Chop the mint and parsley and add to the bowl along with the lemon juice mixture. Toss gently and chill for at least 2 hours. Toss gently again and serve with freshly zested lemon and orange.

Enjoy!

Fiesta Chickpea Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes / Refrigerate for 2 hours to rest and blend / Serve at room temp

2 cans of garbanzo beans drained – around 2 cups

1 small can diced green chilies

1 medium onion – chopped

2 garlic cloves – chopped

3 medium tomatoes – chopped

2 jalapeños – chopped

3 Tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro

1 ½ tsps. cumin

½ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and black pepper to taste

Get a bowl and mix everything together. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but serve at room temperature.

You can leave out the green chilies if you want or replace them with a couple canned chipotle chilies in adobo.

Get fancy and grate a little lime zest on top before serving…why not!

Another crazy variation: Blend the whole thing into a hummus consistency and serve with tortilla chips and salsa!

Enjoy!

Fennel Orzo Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cook Time: 10-12 minutes for Orzo / Refrigerate for 1 hour

1 pound (1 package) cooked Orzo – Drained and shocked with cold water to stop cooking

1 cup finely chopped green onions

1 cup finely chopped fresh fennel (can substitute celery)

¼ finely chopped fresh parsley

1 ½ cups of plant-based plain Greek yogurt (about 2 store-sized packages)

¼ olive oil

¼ Tabasco

¼ dried dill

½ tsp black pepper and salt

Cook the orzo according to the package directions and shock to cool…drain well. In a large bowl mix the orzo with the veggies, parsley, and olive oil. Add the yogurt, spices, and tabasco. Mix well and refrigerate to rest and blend the flavors. The starches will tighten up a bit so toss again before serving…add some additional olive oil, salt and pepper if needed before serving.

Variation: Add some thawed frozen baby peas or edamame for some extra protein or top with some toasted pistachios or walnuts for an additional crunch.

Enjoy!