August 15, 2012

Beta-Caroteine and Protein-Packed Salad

Today, as I was walking on the treadmill and reading the latest Yoga Journal magazine (yes, I read while I walk...I find it very meditative and relaxing), I was struck with inspiration for tonight's dinner.  Specifically, something Lavinia Spalding said in her article "Salad Days" really got me thinking:
When dinnertime comes, salad is often overlooked as a main-course option - it's a nice sidekick, but seldom the star.
Well, not in the Behne household!  The star of tonight's dinner was 110% salad; but not just any salad, this salad was filled with beta-caroteine, fiber, healthy fats, and protein.

Protein, you say?

How does someone who doesn't eat meat get protein?

Why, lentil's of course! :)

Don't trust my nutrition knowledge?  Well, not to worry, the World's Healthiest Foods has my back!
Lentils are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber..but this is far from all lentils have to offer.  Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein - all with virtually no fat.  The calorie cost of all this nutrition?  Just 230 calories for a while cup of cooked lentils! (Source)

This salad is packed with an abundance of vitamins, nutrients, and good-for-you flavor!  After eating a plate FULL of it, I was satisfied and full, but by no means overly stuffed.  Three hours later, I was still feeling energized!  Don't be shy about the herbs in this salad, they really take the flavors from moderate to delectable!  And just in case you aren't a fan of rosemary or dill, feel free to substitute them with coriander, oregano, or basil.

Before eating this salad, Bo was CERTAIN that he didn't like lentils.  When I told him what was in tonight's dinner salad, he said "Lentils?!!!"  But - and I promise you I'm not lying here - after the first bite he changed his tune!

Lentils may seem like the red-headed-freckled-step-child of vegetables, but honestly, what do you have to lose by giving them a fair try?!

Beta-Caroteine and Protein-Packed Salad
Serves 2-4 (two as an entree, four as a side dish)

1/2C lentils, washed
1C water
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced into bite-size pieces
4 medium carrots, diced into bite-size pieces
2C spinach, washed and patted dry
4T EVOO, divided
1/2T dried dill, divided in half
1tsp dried thyme, divided in half
1T dried rosemary, divided in half
1T lemonjuice
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place the lentils and water into a small saucepan.
  • Once the lentils reach a low boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes - or until tender.
  • Meanwhile, toss the diced sweet potatoes and carrots with 2T EVOO, 1/4T dried dill, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/2T dried rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Roast for 20 minutes.
  • After the lentils, sweet potatoes, and carrots are cooked, toss them together in a large salad bowl.
  • Cover the vegetables with aluminum foil, and refrigerate until they are cool.
  • In a small jar or bowl, whisk together the lemonjuice, remaining oil, and a pinch of salt.
  • Once the vegetables are cool, add the spinach, lemonjuice/oil mixture, and remaining herbs to the large salad bowl.
  • Toss to incorporate, and refrigerate for an additional 30 to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Serve chilled.

Up next - Who knows?!  I recently realized that I get a little stressed out by this point in the post.  Although it is 100% self-imposed, I have started to feel some pressure to always have another post lined up, when the truth is, I frequently don't!  So, instead of telling you what I am going to write about next time, I have decided to live in the moment instead, and wait for something to strike me! :)

Question of the Day:

Is there a food that you KNOW is good for you, but you just can't bring yourself to try it?  Or have you tried it, and you just can't bring yourself to like it?!  If so, I would love to hear all about it in the "Comment" section directly below!

Ally and Bo

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