Meatless Monday: Moroccan lentil salad
A lentil salad with the bright flavors of spicy peppers and lime.
I don’t like salad, or perhaps it’s better said that I generally do not like salad. Sometimes the greens are too bitter or the tomatoes not how I like them (I prefer whole cherry or grape tomatoes, not diced tomatoes) or the dressing isn’t to my liking (no honey – or agave – mustard for me, thanks). But I do like it more when I can add more interesting flavors and textures like dill or kidney beans. Still, I would rather have potatoes or pasta over salad.
But I have decided that I am going to make an effort and try to make salads I can enjoy and maybe even love. I have added, for the first time, a category for Salad on Novel Eats, and I’m going to start filling it with recipes I try, and I’ll be honest if I like them or not.
This first salad is a result of a search I did the other day for lentil salad recipes. This one caught my eye because of the addition of spicy peppers and lime, and I actually like it pretty well. I do think it works better as a side rather than on its own, but its flavors are fresh and the colors beautiful. A good start to my self-imposed salad challenge.
1/2 cup dry lentils
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup pre-cooked or 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 hot green chile peppers, seeded and minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sort, rinse and then place lentils and water in a small to medium-sized pot. Bring water to boil, reduce to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Once it has finished cooking, drain and rinse with cold water.
In a medium to large-sized mixing bowl start combining your ingredients as you prepare them.
First, add the garbanzos. Normally I like to cook these at home, but I was lazy this time and just grabbed a can of organic. Make sure you drain and rinse them if you use a can (if you rinse, it will remove the excess salt it may have been packed with, reducing the sodium you’ll intake).
Chop green onions, making sure to discard any wilted or damaged parts.
Chop green, yellow and red peppers. You can use just one color if you prefer, but each has a subtle, yet unique flavor all its own.
Juice a lime straight into the bowl with the other ingredients.
Chop up some fresh cilantro.
Add the lentils to the bowl if you haven’t already, then about half a teaspoon to a teaspoon of salt and the olive oil.
Stir well, then chill for about 20 minutes, as you want to serve it cold.
This is great on the first day, but I found that if it sat overnight, it got really watery. Best to serve and eat on the day you make it, but it’s still good if you want to save it for later.
I would also say that I would probably want to add another chile or two just to increase the kick a bit, and if you’re wanting to save calories, you can skip out on the olive oil. I forgot to add it until the end, and it tasted just fine without it.
Related post: Southwestern Lentil Soup
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