Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lentil Quinoa Salad

Nothing beats a muggy hot, day like a like cool salad...too bad this lentil quinoa salad requires you to heat up the stove. But once made, this dish--which makes both a tasty side and filling entree--holds up quite well in the fridge for a few days.

adapted from Melissa d'Arabian's recipe at the Food Network

serves 4

The Ingredients:
1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/4 cups water, plus 2 cups
1/2 cup lentils
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 lime, zested
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves

The Process:
Put the quinoa in a sieve and rinse in cold water. In a large microwave-proof bowl with a cover, add the rinsed quinoa and 1 1/4 cups water. Cover and microwave on high for 9 minutes. Let it sit for 2 minutes then stir. Quinoa should be tender enough to eat, but with a little "pop" upon biting.

Put the lentils in a sieve and rinse in cold water. In a saucepan, simmer the lentils in 2 cups water until the lentils are tender, but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Drain and cool.

In a small bowl, whisk the mustard and vinegar together, and drizzle in the oil to make an emulsion. Add the garlic powder, lime zest, and salt, and pepper, to taste.

To assemble the salad: In a medium salad bowl, mix the quinoa, lentils, green onions, and chopped cilantro. Top the salad with the dressing, toss to coat and serve.

My Modifications:
Vegetable oil for a dressing? Really? I am a prude about somethings. what oil to use in a dressing is one of them. I opted for olive oil. Using a microwave to cook anything is another. Quinoa is not hard to do on the stove top and in the end will only add about 6 or 7 more minutes to the recipe....

After rinsing, place the quinoa and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and continue with the recipe...

You can certainly multitask by cooking the lentils or prepping the dressing while you wait those tedious extra minutes the stove top directions take.

As tot he seasoning, I omitted the cilantro. Fresh garlic was used instead of large clove, minced to start. And since I had a lime bereft of its zest, I squeezed it of its juice as well and added that to the dressing to taste.

The Review:
Fresh and still slightly warm, this salad was "meh." I do love the fresh garlic and green onion notes alongside the citrus-y lime and bit of salt. However, the red wine vinegar seems to overpower much of the flavor. I still found this quinoa recipe a vast improvement over the last one I tried...though that dill/zucchini version did create some killer quinoa patties...

We'll see how it tastes for lunch tomorrow after all of the flavors have had a chance to mellow and meld.

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