Roasted Veggie and Lentil Salad

imageHands down my new favorite!  This salad is super versatile too…if you don’t like asparagus you can use haricot verts (the super skinny green beans) or try carrots sliced in skinny strips. The asparagus is best when you can find the very narrow spears.

This takes a few steps but it gets better as it sits in the fridge so it’s perfect to make on a Sunday and bring to lunch the following week.  I used Trader Joes steamed lentils that they sell in the produce section.  Of course, you can easily start from scratch with a bag of uncooked lentils.  Lentils are a great source of protein and the veggies are loaded with an array of vitamins and antioxidants so this is perfect for a one bowl lunch or dinner.  You will definitely want to consider doubling this recipe!

Roasted Veggie and Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

1 c lentils

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

2 ears sweet corn

9 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 c chopped dill

1/4 c chopped basil leaves

3 T red wine vinegar

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on veggies prior to roasting

sea salt

If cooking your own lentils:

Combine lentils, garlic, and 1/2 t salt in a saucepan.  Add enough water to cover lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender. Drain and transfer to large bowl.

While cooking lentils, bring pot of  salted water to a boil and cook corn for 4 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.  Using a sharp knife, cut kernels from cob.  Combine corn with cooked lentils.

Preheat oven to 425.  On large foil-lined cookie sheet place halved cherry tomatoes and asparagus (and/or any other veggie that suits your fancy).  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Season with sea salt.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Some of the veggies should be starting to brown on top. I like them a little crunchy!

Add remaining ingredients to lentils, corn, and veggies and toss well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm or cold.  YUM!

Eat your veggies:)

Melissa

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Quick and Easy Summer Salad Recipe – Zucchini and Black Bean

zucchini salad

zuccini salad

Looking for a quick and easy summer salad to make and eat on the go? Here’s one for you. It’s great to take and eat on the go, say a swim meet, baseball game or what ever you have going on now that it is summer sport time. It’s great to take to work the next day too. This easy summer salad recipe is actually better on the second day because the zucchini has time to take in all of the flavors and marinate in the olive oil and lime juice. Doesn’t this salad just look so pretty? Beautiful food inside, beautiful you outside. Here’s the recipe:

1 zucchini diced into quarters
1 yellow summer squash diced into quarters
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 hand full of chopped fresh cilantro
1 quart cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 T. olive oil
juice of one whole fresh lime
salt and pepper to taste

Throw it all into a bowl, give it a toss and serve. Are you on the fly? Put it in a red Solo cup and stick a plastic spoon in it. Grab a roll of paper towel or some napkins and don’t forget a plastic grocery bag and you are good to go! Watch your fellow sports fans look at you with envy as you eat your fresh, healthy meal. Feel free to let them know where you got the idea!

Sorry I haven’t blogged in about a bagillion years. Just like you all, I’m trying to find balance in the crazy time we call life.
What is you favorite go to summer meal? Please share with us. We love to hear about what you are doing!

Keep it Real. Keep it Simple. Make it Matter. -Andrea

Oh My Crunchy Thai Salad!

IMG_2842This is YUMMY!  I’ve made it twice this week so that tells you something!  I like it even better the second or third day so make it today for a great weekend lunch.  This salad is loaded with vitamins, fiber, anti-oxidants…all good-for-you ingredients.  But the best reason for making it is how delicious it tastes.  This can be served as an entrée, makes about 4 large servings, or as a side to just about anything.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 c uncooked quinoa

2 c shredded red cabbage

1 diced red bell pepper

1/2 diced red onion

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 c chopped cilantro

1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas

1/4 c diced green onions

1/2 c cashew halves or peanuts

fresh lime

FOR THE DRESSING:

1/4 c natural peanut butter

2 t grated fresh ginger

3 T soy sauce

1 T honey

1 T red wine vinegar

1 t sesame oil

1 t olive oil

2 t sriracha sauce (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Rinse quinoa in cold water.  Add to saucepan with 1.5 cups water and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes or until water has been absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and place in large bowl to cool.

Place peanut butter and honey in small dish and microwave for 20 seconds.  Whisk in remaining dressing ingredients and add a little water to thin. You want the dressing to be easy to pour over salad and thoroughly coat everything.

Next add all remaining veggies and beans to the quinoa except green onions and cashews.  Fold together and then drizzle on the dressing and toss to coat.  Finish with a squeeze of lime and sprinkle each serving with green onions and nuts.  ENJOY!

Citrus Mexican Salad

I took this salad to a neighborhood picnic last weekend and it was a hit!  Rich and I liked it so much that we wanted more the following day so I made it again.  Then we proceeded to eat it for the next 3 days tucked in a whole wheat pita for lunch and rolled into a burrito the next night for dinner.  Yeah, we liked it just a little:)  I love to find a delicious recipe that’s full of goodness too.

There are lots of ingredients and a bit of chopping, but all quite easy and doable.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 can black beans, well-rinsed

1 bag frozen corn, thawed

1/4 c sliced black olives

2 oranges, chopped into cubes

1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 vidalia onion, diced

1 to 2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 avocado, diced (if avocado is small, use 2!)

4 c baby spinach leaves, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces

1 jalapeno, diced, optional (I left this out)

2 limes

1 T agave or honey

1 T olive oil

3 T apple cider vinegar

For the dressing:

Whisk together the juice of 2 limes, 1 T agave syrup or honey,  1 T olive oil, 3 T apple cider vinegar

To prepare, throw the beans, corn, olives, tomatoes, onions, spinach, and cilantro into a large bowl and gently toss.  In separate bowl place diced avocado.  Toss orange pieces on top of avocado and fold in. (The citrus will keep the avocado from browning, so you want to get it coated in the juice from the orange).  Place the orange and avocado mixture on top of the salad, add the dressing and gently toss it all together.  Sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready.  Gets better every day!

Peace and Beans,

Melissa

Salad and Wine…YUM!

Just wanted to give a shout out to our friends at the Western Wake Farmers Market.  Thanks for hosting Sprouting Souls on Saturday!  It is such an inspiration to see so many people supporting our local farmers, bakers, and artisans.

I also wanted to mention this event taking place next Thursday at the Umstead.  If you’ve not had the pleasure of dining at Herons,  The Umstead’s amazing restaurant, this is the perfect opportunity to see their chef in action and support the WWFM all at the same time!

WWFM & The Umstead Present Salads + Wine Event

Thursday, August 16, 2012, 6 to 8 PM – Buy Tickets

The Western Wake Farmers’ Market invites you to join them at The Umstead Hotel and Spa for a tasting of farm to table cuisine, showcasing small sampling plates prepared by Executive Chef Scott Crawford paired with wines selected by sommelier Hai Tran.

In conjunction with the meal, WWFM will hold a silent auction featuring a variety of locally-made crafts, gift baskets, gift certificates and much more. All proceeds from tickets and silent auction items will directly benefit WWFM.

View event details

Challenge #8

TGIF!  Looking forward to our last weekend before school starts for my kids on a year-round schedule.  We’ve had 4 weeks of fun and I know they will want to blow it out this weekend with lots of pool time, ice cream, and probably a trip to a favorite pizza or Mexican restaurant.  When I know “crazy” is coming, it helps to stock my fridge with quick, healthy options to grab on the way to the pool or for a fast lunch.  I like to make a salad that will last all weekend and be sure to have plenty of fruit on hand.

The challenge for the weekend is two-fold.  First, take a few minutes to prepare or shop for some easy, healthy options.  I love this cold chickpea salad recipe.  I have to run out this morning for more tomatoes but I promise to make it today and post a picture.  It is super easy and you can be creative and add whatever other chopped veggie you’d like.  The second part of the challenge is to look ahead to your weekend and see where you can carve out at least 30 minutes of time for yourself.  If you can find an hour, even better.  Sneak off to the hammock, coffee shop, closest park. Take a book or take nothing at all.  Just be. Breathe. Observe. Enjoy!

Cold Chickpea Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

2 pints grape tomatoes, sliced in half (of course, any variety will work!)

2  15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1  large cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced

1 cup snipped fresh cilantro (or 3 cubes frozen Trader Joes cilantro, microwave for a few seconds, mix with a drizzle of olive oil and add to bowl)

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

juice of 1/2 lemon

6 T olive oil 

4 T red wine vinegar

 2 tsp coarse kosher salt

1 clove garlic, minced

Toss everything together and chill for at least an hour.  I like this salad even better the second day when all the flavors have really mingled.

Be back later with a photo!

Melissa