Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quinoa lentil salad

I made this dish kind of on a whim last Friday to use up some extra lentils we had. We liked it so well that I made up another batch of it this morning before going to school so we could have it for lunch. It is a really quick dish. I think it could definitely become a potluck/picnic standby for me. Although it has a lot in common with my famous lentil salad, it is much subtler. I think of it as lentil salad's sophisticated older sister. We used French green lentils, which might be called de Puy lentils in your supermarket. Regular brown lentils would work fine in here, too. I don't think red lentils would work very well because they get so mushy. According to wikipedia, quinoa is high in protein, fiber, and iron. It also has a pleasant taste and texture, similar to white rice or millet. I used 1/4 red quinoa and 3/4 white for a little color contrast, but I think the taste and nutrition of both kinds is the same.

Quinoa lentil salad

1 cup quinoa
2 pinches salt
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (from about 1/2 cup dry, I would guess)
1/2 cup fresh herbs, finely minced (I used thyme and oregano, but rosemary, basil, dill, and even mint would probably be nice)
2 stalks celery and some celery leaves, chopped

Red wine vinegar
Dijon mustard
Black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa, salt, and 2 cups water to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until water has been absorbed. Mix together cooked quinoa, lentils, herbs, and celery. Whisk together a mild vinaigrette from remaining ingredients and dress the salad. I don't include amounts because I wasn't really paying attention when I made it. Just do what feels right.

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