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Mediterranean Herbed Brown Rice & Lentil Salad

rsz_mediterranean_lentil_salad_2_-_amyThis amazing, colourful and delicious salad comes from Amy Snider-Whitson who runs “The Test Kitchen”, a company that specializes in recipe development and a whole lot more.  This salad is fantastic!!!  It can be served alone or with grilled chicken or fish as a side salad.  It also holds well in the refrigerator and makes a terrific, fibre-rich portable lunch option that will keep energy levels high all afternoon.  I recommend using parboiled wholegrain brown rice (like Uncle Ben’s) because it has a nice, fluffy texture in salads, but you can use whatever brown rice you like.  The lentils can be replaced with another canned legume such as chickpeas, navy beans or black beans.  For a zesty addition, you can add a little sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese before serving.  Thanks Amy!!!  Enjoy!

 Serves 4 to 6 (makes 6 cups/1.5 L)

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup (250 mL) wholegrain brown rice

1 can (19 oz/540 mg) lentils, drained and rinsed

1 cup (250 mL) diced red pepper

½ cup (125 mL) diced red onion

1½ cups (375 mL) chopped fresh mixed herbs such parsley, mint and/or basil

Dressing Ingredients:

2 tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard

1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano leaves

1 tsp (5 mL) honey

¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper

Pinch salt

3 tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil

Please note:  For extra protein and nutrition, you can add in ¼ cup (60 mL) of toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds.

Directions:

1.  Prepare rice according to timing of package directions. Drain and spread out on a large plate to cool.

2.  Toss cooled rice with lentils, red pepper, onion, parsley, mint and basil.

3.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, Dijon, oregano, honey, pepper and salt until combined. Whisking, drizzle in the oil until well combined.

4.  Toss rice mixture with the dressing. Adjust seasonings to taste.  If making ahead, hold back half of the dressing mixture and add just before serving.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1 cup/250 mL):  276 calories, 14 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 43 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g sugars, 5 g fibre, 9 g protein, 230 mg sodium

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