Lentil Beet Salad

Let's be honest, lentils and beets are NOT for everyone. But don't let your preconceived "dislike" for these ingredients dissuade you from trying this recipe. Not only will the subtle flavors surprise your taste buds, but this salad will make you feel great! The nutritional benefits are unbeatable. Plus - if you are the vicinity of a Trader Joe's grocery, this salad can be made in under 10 minutes!

I often refer to WHFoods when researching new ingredients and their nutritional values. It is a good source for the average consumer who wants to know just a little more about what, in fact, he or she is consuming.
WHFoods: Lentils
Lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But this is far from all lentils have to offer. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up--not out.

WHFoods: Beets
Remember all those legendary Russian centenarians? Beets, frequently consumed either pickled or in borscht, the traditional Russian soup, may be one reason behind their long and healthy lives. These colorful root vegetables contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer. Benefits include: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and support of detoxification.

Lentil Beet Salad Recipe:

. 1 package pre-cooked Lentils (found at Trader Joe's)
. 2-3 medium size beets, peeled and cooked (You can use pre-cooked beets)
. 1/2 medium size onion, thinly sliced
. 2 cloves garlic, minced
. 2 tbsp olive oil
. handful of fresh chopped herbs (I used basil and mint)
. juice from 1/2 a lemon
. white balsamic vinegar (any vinegar can be used)
. fresh cracked black pepper and salt
Heat skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil. Sautee chopped onion and garlic over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes (salt and pepper). Meanwhile, empty package of pre-cooked lentils into a large bowl. Roughly dice beets and add to the lentils. Finely chop a handful of each herb being used (mint and basil leaves). Add most of the fresh chopped herbs to the bowl, reserve some for garnish. Once the onion/garlic mixture is translucent, toss with the lentils and beets. Finally, dress the salad with remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil, a couple glugs of white balsamic vinegar, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Salt and pepper to taste and garnish the salad with remaining fresh herbs.
*Serving suggestion: Toss chilled salad over a bed of lettuce with vinaigrette and fresh goat cheese.

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