You may have noticed that I haven’t been doing many “Sunday Spreads.”
This is partly because I am lazy. It is also because although I consider myself a pretty original cook, I’m more of a “take your recipe and adapt it” kind of gal. I surf the internet or browse my cookbooks to get ideas, and then I invent my own take based on what’s in the kitchen. There’s nothing I hate more than running out to the grocery store to get some “special” ingredient when I have a nice substitute on hand at home.
Let me give an example. I saw a post for Colorful Lentil Salad with Walnuts & Herbs at The Kitchn. I thought, yum! I like the idea of walnuts on top of lentil salad. Only I don’t have any walnuts. I have “pepitas,” which I think are pumpkin seeds. They’re green, anyway.
I also remembered this recipe I saw somewhere that added beets to lentil salad. I tried to Google it and there were about 9 million results, so I can’t attribute it exactly. But safe to say it’s not the most original recipe in the world. So I combined the two ideas, replaced the walnuts with whatever pepitas are, and topped with beets. I cooked the lentils with a bit of meat, because we had meatballs hanging around, and I think that beans/legumes always have more flavor when cooked with a bit of meat.
Check it out for yourself. This Sunday I’m also making some eggplant Parmesan for friends who have recently had babies, roasting up some vegetables, and prepping some baby food for the week. We’re venturing forth to plums, sweet potatoes, and peas this week.
Lentil Salad with Beet, Cheese and Nuts
1 pkg green lentils (about 2 ½ cups)
4 cups chicken broth
2 small or 1 large bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
4 green onions, diced (optional)
1 meatball, cooked sausage link or other meat, crumbled (optional)
1 cup of nuts (walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, etc)
½ cup parmesan, grated
4 cups salad greens
4 cooked beets, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced herbs (parsley, mint, oregano, etc)
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons of your favorite vinaigrette
- Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat. I love all things medium. Add in the olive oil. Once the olive oil is shimmering or almost smoking, add in the diced onion and pepper. Hold off on adding the green onions for the moment. Sauté for 2 minutes or so, and add in the green onion. Sauté until the onion and pepper are translucent but still have a bit of crunch.
- Remove the vegetables from the heat and set aside. You can keep cooking them with the lentils but this will not result in crunchy veggies – up to you.
- Add in the lentils and coat with the olive oil. Add in the chicken stock and the meatball. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat to low.
- Cook for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Remove from the heat and place in a separate bowl and allow to cool.
- Once cool, mix in the veggies. Top salad greens with ½ – ¾ a cup of lentils, a diced beet, ¼ cup of nuts, and a sprinkling of Parmesan and herbs. Drizzle a tablespoon of your favorite vinaigrette and enjoy.
Lentil Salad with Beet [pdf]