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Warm Lentil Salad With Light Feta and Fresh Herbs

Would you like a fantastically flavourful and totally nutritious recipe to kick off your New Year?  Here it is!  This recipe comes from my book “Broccoli, Love & Dark Chocolate”.  It is, without question, a fan favourite.  Best of all, it’s a wonderful way to get more beans or legumes into your eating plan – an objective that should be a priority for all.

Beans, including lentils, are:
• loaded with good nutrition
• disease fighting, all-stars
• great for your waistline
• strongly linked to longevity

And, perhaps, most importantly…
• an incredible source of fibre!

A diet rich in fibre is essential to the health of your microbiome.  A healthy microbiome, in turn, impacts every single aspect of your health and well-being.  It’s that important.  So… I say, together let’s make this your healthiest year yet, starting with this recipe.  Happy New Year!!!  Here’s to awesome food and to totally taking care of you!

Serves 2 (main dish serving) or 4 (side serving)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
1 small red pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) lentils, drained and rinsed
3 cups (750 mL) loosely packed, baby spinach
½ cup (125 mL) chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup (80 mL) light, crumbled feta cheese

Please note:
• If you have the time, substitute green lentils, cooked from scratch, for the canned lentils (boil 1 cup/250 mL of green lentils for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender, and drain).  Use in recipe as directed.
• You can substitute an equal amount of light goat cheese for the feta cheese.
• For extra kick, add ¼ tsp (2.5 mL) dried red pepper flakes. Highly recommended.

Directions:
1. In a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onion and sauté until softened, for about 3 minutes.
2. Add the carrots and red pepper and sauté just until tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
3. Add the lentils and spinach and sauté until the lentils are just heated through and spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in fresh basil, parsley, vinegar, and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl.
4. Add the feta cheese. Stir gently to combine. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information Per Side Serving (based on about ¾ cup/175 mL serving size): 207 calories, 9.5 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 22 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugars, 10 g fibre, 10 g protein, 294 mg sodium

P.S. Sodium will be lower if you cook the lentils from scratch or buy canned lentils with no salt added.
P.S. After you make this recipe, be sure to let me know how you like it. I love it!

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Liz

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