First Guest Recipe!

I’m really glad to get initial encouragement from people, especially since last week was a little overwhelming for me. But I managed to rest and relax a little this weekend, and I’m feeling much better. So now, here is a recipe! I was going to try to cook it myself before posting, but while I did get time for some cooking this weekend, this one just wasn’t in the works. But I think it looks pretty great, so here is Helena’s suggestion:

I’m writing because I recently discovered a great and easy recipe that has two fantastic advantages. Since I have a very hectic work schedule, I often make quick meals that don’t include enough vegetables or protein. Now and then I start to feel tired, and really crave vegetables or steak as part of my body’s desire to get me back into balance. The following recipe is great on both fronts – tomatoes for the veg (ok, fruit, but still) and lentils for the protein.

Lentil Salad with Tomato and Dill

Ingredients

1 cup dried lentils (preferably small French lentils)
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 lb tomatoes, diced (2 cups)
4 large scallions, thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, or to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

preparation

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan with lentils, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain in a large sieve, then transfer to a large bowl.

Toss hot lentils with tomatoes, scallions, dill, basil, vinegar, oil, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste.

notes

You can prep everything for the salad during the 20 minutes the lentils are cooking, so it’s fast.

For the budget conscious:
– You can get 2 salad runs out of a bag of lentils < $1
– Olive oil, vinegar, and garlic (minced, in a huge jar) are staples that are usually in the kitchen, but their prices don’t work out to much per round of the salad
– The tomato content is 2-3 depending on size, so typically less than $2
– Green onion content also < $1
– The herbs are the priciest part, but if you grow your own basil and dill, they’re FREE!
So if you grow your own herbs, you can probably put a round of this together for less than $5. With my (small) appetite, I generally get 4-6 meals out of this, but even for hearty appetites getting 1-2 meals, that’s pretty cheap.

I prefer my food a bit spicy, so I kick this up with a little extra black pepper and some dried red pepper flakes.

I recently served this at a dinner party for 6. With the other dishes, people took small enough portions that there was enough left over for 2 very satisfying meals (I’m a one-dish kinda gal when I’m eating alone, so that’s enough for me, but as a side the portions would be smaller and the freshness of it mixes well with either light or rich main courses – at the party I served it with goat cheese and scallion stuffed breaded chicken roulades – yum!). This salad also packs well for lunch at the office that doesn’t require reheating.

So there you go. I think this sounds simple, cheap and delicious, and I’ve got most of the ingredients already. I’ll probably look for fresh tomatoes at the farmer’s market this weekend and make some for my lunches next week.

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1 Comment »

  1. mickey said

    Lovely. I need to try this out.

    I have made something quite similar in the past, using canned tomatoes, a bit of tomato paste, and some red wine, instead of the fresh tomatoes. Up here in the great white north (Canada), it’s a bit more cost effective to use canned tomatoes in the winter. Just passing that along.

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