Lentils: The Other White Meat

I don’t know why I’m writing about lentils…but as I was cooking up a batch yesterday evening I thought it would be good to share why I love lentils so much.  If you’ve read my other posts you know that I am a vegetarian but my family is not.  This usually results in me cooking two separate dinners….one meaty, one non-meaty.  Sometimes I have a real hard time coming up with new and exciting things to make for myself…but here’s where the lentils come in.

Lentils are versatile.  You can put them in anything.  they are also great meat imposters.  In most recipes that call for ground beef, you can substitute cooked lentils and no one would ever be the wiser.  I make a mean chili with lentils and I was able to successfully fool my son (who is a very picky eater) into thinking he was eating meat.  Not to mention, lentils are very healthy for you; they are high in fiber and protein.  I will usually cook up a batch of lentils and keep them in a Tupperware container in the fridge.  that way, during the week I can add them to anything I am cooking in a pinch when I have nothing else to make myself.

Of course, on their own lentils make a great Greek-type salad.  I’m going to make some this weekend and post the recipe, so keep your eyes out.

Here are some meal ideas in which you can use lentils in place of meat:

~Veggie Burgers
~Chili
~Tacos / Taco Salad
~Meat Sauce (for pasta)
~Lasagna
~”Hamburger” Helper
~Soup

Are there any favorite lentil ideas you would like to share?  Let me know!

Lentils….they’re what’s for dinner.

Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing

I had another bunch of kale and half of a pound of strawberries left that I needed to do something with before going bad. I’ve never made a strawberry vinaigrette before but I thought I’d take a stab at it and it came out pretty good! I hope you think it’s yummy too!

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 pint strawberries, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Directions:

1. Blend strawberries and vinegar in food processor or blender until a liquid consistency is reached.
2. Pour into bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients.
3. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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My Copycat Kale Cranberry Pepita Salad Recipe

You can see from a previous post my love for Central Market’s Kale Cranberry Pepita salad. I don’t live close to a Central Market so I’m not able to get my hands on it that often, not to mention it’s $5.99/lb! Going by the ingredient label on the salad container I decided to try and make my own. It came out excatly like the real thing! Here’s the recipe, let me know what you think!

Ingredients;

1 large bunch of raw, rinsed, stemmed and chopped kale (yields about 6 cups)

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup orange juice

1/8 cup soy sauce

1 tsp minced onions (in lieu of shallots)

1 tsp ground ginger

1 handful craisins or dried cranberries

1 handful roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

1 handful chopped or slivered almonds (roasted or raw)

pinch of salt & pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Optional: slivers of candied ginger to taste (I don’t like it, but it’s in the original salad)

Directions;

Mix all of the ingredients except for the cranberries and seeds together in bowl with a whisk until well combined. Pour on top of kale and mix well until all leaves coated. Sprinkle on the cranberries, almonds and pepitas. Let salad sit for at least 1 hour in the fridge so that kale softens up a bit. Best if eaten the next day!

You can see mine looks just like the store bought kind and tastes the same too!

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Rave: Best Salad in All the Land

Take a look at this:

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This is a kale and pepita salad with orange vinegarette and cranberry dressing from Central Market. It is SO yummy and kale is really good for you.

Looks easy to make too…kale, roasted pepitas, craisins, almonds and candied ginger. The dressing is just olive oil, orange juice, rice vinegar, and a little salt.

If you let it sit for a while before eating, the kale will soften up. It’s best the 2nd day!