Is anyone else in love with mandarin oranges right now? I have one with every meal including this bruschetta lentil salad I made for lunch.
Small enough for easy transport, I pop one in each pocket of my jacket when I walk to work. If you want to find me, just follow the trail of mandarin peel bits I leave in my wake. So delicious!
For lunch this week I’ve been digging on pulses (dry beans, lentils, etc.). With the declaration of 2016 as International Year of the Pulses by the United Nations, I’d better get to work on some #IYP2016 recipes!
This recipe is a quickie salad that I enjoyed on a recent visit to our friends house with a few little twists of my own. It’s a great one for all of us busy people – lentils are quick cooking and you could use pre-made store bought ingredients for the lentils and/or bruschetta if you have a Trader Joes, etc.
The best part is that you are filling yourself up with delicious plant based protein, iron and fiber. Don’t forget to pair all your pulses with something that has vitamin C – tomatoes, oranges, etc. – vitamin C helps your body uptake the iron in plant based foods. Just remember beans and salsa – they just go together naturally!
So technically my mandarin orange craze is really a perfectly paired food for my bruschetta lentil salad – we get vitamin C from the oranges and from the tomatoes. Win – Win!
- 1 cup dry lentils, cooked
- 8 small-medium tomatoes, diced, seedy pulp removed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 11 oz baby spinach, loosely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- feta cheese to top, optional
- 2 Tbs olive oil, more to drizzle
- salt and pepper
- In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water (or stock) and 1 cup of dry lentils to a boil. Once boiling, turn down heat to a low simmer (barely bubbling at all) and cook lentils for about 15 min. Since these are for a salad, we want to stop cooking them before they are super soft. Drain any excess water and season with salt and pepper.
- While the lentils are cooking, combine the garlic, tomatoes and 2 Tb olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. This can be done in advance. As the mixture sits and the tomatoes release their juices it will serve as your dressing.
- In a large bowl, toss the chopped parsley, drained lentils and all of the tomato mixture.
- Add the spinach and lightly toss.
- Top with walnuts and feta. Perhaps an extra drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, if needed.