June 5, 2012

Beluga Lentil Salad with Apples and Cucumbers


Lentils are another one of those foods that rank high on the who's who in the world of nutrition. With 30% of their calories coming from protein, they are one of the best and most inexpensive sources throughout the world. They rank among the most protein rich legumes or nuts with only hemp and soybeans being higher. However, they do not provide a complete balance of essential amino acids and must be combined with rice for a complete protein. Sprouted lentils provide sufficient levels of all of the essential amino acids.

Like their name, beluga lentils are the caviar of lentils. They are beautiful, delicious, and super healthy. They are also almost twice as high in protein and higher in fiber than that of other lentil varieties.  Additionally, they cook quickly and hold their shape without becoming mushy making them ideal for salads of all sorts.

This is a great salad to enjoy this summer. It is crisp, refreshing, light, and a brilliant choice for a healthy snack or side dish. It would be great served with salmon, either grilled or poached, as salmon marries so well with both lentils and cucumbers. It would also be delicious served with grilled or poached chicken, or made into a main course salad with the addition of greens and some crumbled feta cheese.

Beluga Lentil Salad with Apples and Cucumbers
For all of the ingredients, please use only those that are organic or pesticide free.
1 cup beluga lentils
4 cups water
1 hothouse cucumber, peeled or 5 persian cucumbers, unpeeled
2 small apples, unpeeled and diced (Fuji used in this recipe)
1/3 cup parsley leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
1/3 cup Mustard Vinaigrette (about 1/3 of the recipe)
  sea salt
  freshly ground black pepper
Combine the lentils and the water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. They should still be firm, but soft in the middle. Drain the lentils in a strainer and set aside to cool completely.
Seed the cucumber. Slice the peeled cucumber lengthwise and run a small spoon down the center of each half to gently remove the seeds. Once they are seeded, thinly slice each half. If using Persian cucumbers, there is no need to seed or halve them.
Combine the prepared cucumbers and apples in a medium size bowl. Add about 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Add the parsley and mint and stir to combine the flavors.
Add the cooled lentils to the apples and cucumbers along with another 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing and taste. Add more dressing, salt, freshly ground black pepper, or lemon to taste. It should be tangy with just the right balance of salt. Just add a little at a time. You can always add more.
Serve at room temperature or cold.



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Categories: Beans & Legumes, Gluten Free, Salads

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