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French Lentil Salad

Sunday, 03 April 2016 00:00  by Yolanda F.

french lentil salad imagery

Source: The Anti-inflammation Cookbook by Amanda Haas with Dr. Bradley Jacobs

If lentils aren’t already a staple in your house, you might want to ask yourself why. If it’s because you’re especially carnivorous, I get it. But I’ve found lentils to be a formidable substitute for meat, especially when combined with vegetables and flavors that give a dish depth.

The thing about lentils is they’re low on calories and packed with nutrition. But even more importantly, they’re extremely versatile. If you typically experience stress as you search for dinner ideas that are both nurturing and delicious, lentils are an easy answer.

Green lentils are the first choice for salad dishes because they are firmer than the others, which are all high in protein. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, one cup of cooked lentils has 17 grams of protein. However, they’re not a complete protein because they lack certain essential amino acids. To get all nine, you can combine lentils with a grain. In this case, it’s all about the veggies.

Ingredients for French Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp minced shallot
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

What to do:

Place the Dijon mustard and shallot in a small bowl. Whisk in the vinegar. Add a generous pinch of salt and a fresh grinding of pepper. All the shallots to sit in the vinegar for about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to create emulsified vinaigrette. Taste, adding more salt and pepper if desired. Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Whisk again just before serving to re-emulsify.

Ingredients for lentils:

  • 2 cups (670 g) cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or to taste
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) French green lentils
  • 1 qt (690 ml) water or vegetable broth
  • French Vinaigrette (see below)
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup (60 g) thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cup (100 g) quartered cherry tomatoes (optional if nightshade-sensitive)
  • ½ cup (90 g) dried cherries
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 450 F (230 C). Use the convection setting if available. Place the cauliflower in a large bowl. Coat with olive oil and season with a generous pinch of salt and the fennel seeds (if using). Stir in the lemon juice. Spread the cauliflower evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir, then roast until the cauliflower has caramelized and is just cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.

Spread the lentils on a separate baking sheet and remove any small stones or misshapen pieces. Transfer the lentils to a strainer and rinse. Place the lentils in a pot along with the water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer partially covered until the lentils are just cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. They should be tender but have the slightest bite. Drain the excess water.

Place the warm lentils in a large bowl and toss with half of the vinaigrette. Add the cauliflower, carrot, onion, tomatoes (if using), dried cherries, and herbs. Gently stir to combine, adding more vinaigrette if needed. Season with salt and pepper.

The salad can be held in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.

Last modified on Sunday, 03 April 2016 00:55

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