As the days are getting warmer all I really want to eat are light and flavorful foods that require little cooking time. I had a lentil salad a few weeks back at a party that someone had gotten from a deli and I thought to myself, I can recreate that. And I’m so glad I did because it’s delicious, light and refreshing.
If you don’t use lentils very often in your meals, you really should start to use them more. They’re a VERY inexpensive protein source that really helps to stretch your grocery budget and they take on the flavor of whatever you put them with.
Lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, and iron. You can read more about their health benefits here.
Colorful Lentil Salad can be eaten as a side dish, or you could even turn it into a dinner by adding 3oz. of grilled chicken breast or salmon. Yum! It makes a great dish on summer days, but I really like it year round.
For those of you who like to meal plan and prep, this salad makes the perfect make-ahead lunch. It lasts in the fridge for 3-4 days. I like to portion it out in Pyrex containers and then I know I have lunch all set to go for me or someone else in my family. Little tips like this will help you to stay on track with your healthy eating. If you’re looking for more tips on how to prep and plan ahead, read this article. It is full of useful tips! Investing just a bit of time on the front half of your week will pay off dividends for the end of the week when you are tired and worn down.
For those of you that eat the Trim Healthy Mama way, this is an E dish.
To make this recipe you first want to rinse, sort and drain your lentils. Sometimes little stones or clumps of dirt can sneak into the bag. Nothing will ruin your dish (and week) quicker than busting a tooth on a little rock. I usually don’t find anything in the bags, but always a good thing to double check.
Once you’ve sorted your lentils, bring a medium saucepot of water to a boil and then add the lentils. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 17-19 minutes just until they’re tender. You still want a tiny “bite” to remain of the lentil otherwise they will get mushy once you add the dressing.
While the lentils are cooking, bring a small saucepot of water to a boil and add the green peas. Cook for 2 minutes, drain the peas in a strainer and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. I always have to set a timer or I totally forget about the peas. 😉
In a large mixing bowl add the peas, carrots and red onion. If you are adding cooked and diced boneless skinless chicken breasts, this is the time to do add that to the mixing bowl as well. In a large measuring cup combine the lemon juice, thyme, parsley, Dijon mustard, black pepper, salt and extra-virgin olive oil. Set aside.
When the lentils are done cooking drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water. Add them to the bowl of vegetables. Pour the dressing over top of the lentils and vegetables and gently stir to combine.
Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. The only thing I usually need more of is just a pinch of salt. This salad will store well in your refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Colorful Lentil Salad (THM: E, low-fat, gluten-free)
Yield 6 servings
- 1 c. of green or brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 1 c. of frozen peas
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 sm. red onion, diced
- 2 T. lemon juice, freshly squeezed or bottled
- 1/2 t. dried thyme
- 1 T. dried parsley (or 2 T. fresh parsley)
- 1 t. Dijon mustard
- 1/8 t. black pepper
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 t. THM Sweet Blend (or 1 t. honey for those of you not eating THM)
- 1/8 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- Rinse, sort and drain your lentils. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the lentils. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 17-19 minutes just until they're tender.
- While the lentils are cooking, bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the green peas. Cook for 2 minutes, drain the peas in a strainer and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- In a bowl add the peas, carrots and red onion. In a large measuring cup combine the lemon juice, thyme, parsley, Dijon mustard, black pepper, salt and extra-virgin olive oil. Set aside.
- Once the lentils are done cooking drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water. Add them to the bowl of vegetables. Pour the dressing over top of the lentils and vegetables and gently stir to combine.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.