Salad

Summer Lentil Salad


Summer Lentil Salad Recipe
Summer Lentil Salad Recipe

When I'm in the kitchen, I'm rarely thinking about what I am actually doing. If I'm cutting a pepper I'm thinking about anything else. This is probably why I drop dishes and spill things so frequently! I'm often thinking about the times I made a particular dish or used an ingredient. For lentils, I've never actually cooked them before (!) even though I love them in soups and salads and Indian dishes. I remember eating lentils at my Grandmother's for the first time when I was a teenager - they were not something that my mum cooked. Because of this, lentils have always been some strange, exotic choice for a legume! My Grandma made a simple salad with lentils, peppers, and feta cheese with a balsamic dressing. I remember it being tres yummy!

Since I made this salad, I've cooked lentils three times! Four actually, but the first time I used red (based solely on the idea they would make a pretty salad!), but they turned to mush before I knew it! Both red and yellow lentils tend to get softer and loose their shape. For salads, black and green lentils are better as they retain their shape and remain firm. The trick to cooking lentils is to bring them to a boil quickly and continue simmering thereafter. The orange and mint in this salad make it perfect for Spring and Summer! Lentils have quickly become my favourite new food to cook!

Summer Lentil Salad Recipe
Summer Lentil Salad Recipe
Summer Lentil Salad Recipe

Cutting ORANGES

My knife skills are so-so. When I am cutting things like potatoes or squash or even cheese, I sometimes even scare myself. This recipe calls for chunks of orange, pith removed. So, I decided to learn the technique to cutting oranges (safely!).

I first cut the end off the orange so that it would sit flat on the cutting board. Then, I trimmed the skin off, removing as much as I could without taking too much fruit with it. Next, I held the orange in my hand and carved out the little slices, again making sure I left the pith (the white stuff) behind. Ta-da, cute, juicy orange slices perfect for a salad!

Summer Lentil Salad Recipe
Summer Lentil Salad Recipe

Summer Lentil Salad

4 cups of water

1 cup brown lentils

1 clove garlic

1 bay leaf

½ tsp ground cumin

salt & pepper

1 orange, peeled and seeded

1 lemon

1 lime

1 cucumber, peeled and seeded

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Bring water to a boil in pot. Add lentils, garlic, bay leaf, cumin, salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove pith (white part) from orange sections; chop into large bowl. Squeeze juice from lemon and lime and stir into chopped orange.

Cut cucumber into quarters lengthwise; slice thinly and add to bowl. Stir in onion slices, chopped tomatoes, mint, and parsley.

When lentils are cooked, remove bay leaf and garlic clove. Drain lentils in sieve. Chill under cold running water.

Stir lentils into bowl. Stir in oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss gently.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: I used a red pepper instead of tomatoes. I also caught myself crumbling goat cheese on top! :)

Summer Lentil Salad Recipe
Summer Lentil Salad Recipe

*Recipe from The Farm and City Cookbook

Spinach & Sprout Salad with Honey Dressing


Spinach & Sprout Salad with Honey Dressing
Spinach & Sprout Salad with Honey Dressing
Spinach & Sprout Salad with Honey Dressing
Spinach & Sprout Salad with Honey Dressing
Spinach & Sprout Salad with Honey Dressing

Spinach & Sprout Salad

4-6 big handfuls spinach

1 cup alfalfa sprouts

1 cup sliced mushrooms

½ feta cheese chunks

2 Tbsp poppy seeds

Honey Dressing

½ cup liquid honey

¼ cup hot water

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup oil

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground ginger

dash ground cloves

For Honey Dressing, blend ingredients well in a shaker or hand mixer.

Wash and spin spinach leaves and tear into a large bowl. Add alfalfa sprouts, sliced mushrooms and chunks of feta cheese to taste.

Toss with ½ cup Honey dressing and sprinkle with poppy seeds just before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Note: I spread hummus on pita and used the salad to make wraps - very yummy!

Spinach & Sprout Salad with Honey Dressing
Spinach & Sprout Salad with Honey Dressing
Spinach & Sprout Salad with Honey Dressing

Raw Beet & Carrot Salad


Raw Beet & Carrot Salad Recipe

When I was five or six, we lived in a house with the scariest of all basements - and I have 4 brothers who will second, third, fourth and fifth that. It was tiny, cold, and damp. It was dark but there was a little window to the outside that let some light in through the aged glass. I remember accompanying my mum down there while she changed the laundry over. On the opposite side, there was a shelf full of canned goods and just above, the entrance to the crawl space - still freaks me out just thinking about it! My mum would can salsa, jam, red pepper jelly, peaches, pickles, tomatoes, and of course, beets! All of the canned goods were organized and labelled accordingly, "salsa, 1994" or "strawberry rhubarb, '93" in my mum's hand.

Raw Beet & Carrot Salad Recipe
Raw Beet & Carrot Salad Recipe

Aside: I got a mandolin for my birthday. All I want to do is slice things really thin now!

Raw Beet & Carrot Salad Recipe
Raw Beet & Carrot Salad Recipe

My mum loved beets so by default, so did I! I think they were my favourite vegetable, along with asparagus. We always ate our vegetables boiled with a bit of butter, but I love, love, love raw veggies as a snack. Baby carrots are my "go-to" out of convenience, but I honestly love every vegetable I have ever come across. That is a bold statement, but nothing comes to mind (other than tomatoes but we all know tomatoes are fruit!).

Citrus is extra yummy in February, when winter has almost done us in. It brings summer that much closer. The vibrant colours, vitamins, and bright tastes can also be found in locally grown vegetables, such as beets and carrots. Beets and carrots offer that same reassurance that warmer weather is right around the corner! Beets are full of vitamins A and C. This salad is a nice starter for dinner and tastes great the next day too.

Raw Beet & Carrot Salad Recipe

Raw Beet & Carrot Salad

2 beets, peeled

2 carrots, peeled

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 tsp balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper

pumpkin seeds (optional)

Grate carrots and beets on fine side of grater or use a food processor.

Add oil and vinegar and toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with pumpkin seeds.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: I used a mandolin to slice the vegetables but the original recipe suggests to grate them. You could also julienne the veggies, I'm sure that would be tasty too! I chose to add pumpkin seeds the this recipe, but I think sunflower seeds or shaved almonds would be a nice addition.

Raw Beet & Carrot Salad Recipe
Raw Beet & Carrot Salad Recipe

*Recipe modified from The Farm and City Cookbook