Gingered Lentil Quinoa Salad

 

Gingered Lentil Quinoa Salad

Gingered Lentil Quinoa Salad is a healthy, tasty salad of lentils, quinoa and asparagus flavored with freshly grated ginger, olive oil and pomegranate red wine vinegar. Toasted pine nuts are sprinkled on top of the finished salad. The original recipe called for mint leaves. I like mint but I also like basil, both of which are growing on our deck. I decided to divide the recipe in half and to add mint leaves to one half and basil leaves to the other half to see which one I liked best. It turns out that I happen to like both mint and basil versions of this fresh salad recipe! So follow your gut on this one – pun intended!

I would recommend using the blender to prepare this salad dressing to finely distribute the grated ginger – a wire whisk just doesn’t do this very well. Another recommendation is to use any nuts you would like in this recipe as pine nuts, which are specified, have become expensive. Walnuts would probably add some great flavor as well as crunchiness.

Gingered Lentil Quinoa Salad Recipe

Gingered Lentil Quinoa Salad
Serves 8
A tasty, healthy salad of lentils, quinoa, and asparagus flavored with ginger, olive oil and pomegranate red wine vinegar.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 quart water
  2. 3/4 cup dried green lentils, rinsed
  3. 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  4. 4 ounces fresh asparagus tips cut into 1-inch pieces
  5. 1/2 cup olive oil
  6. 1/4 cup pomegranate red wine vinegar
  7. 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  8. 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  10. 1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
  11. 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  12. 2 ounces pine nuts, toasted
  13. 6 cups mixed salad greens
Instructions
  1. Bring water to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, reduce heat, cover and simmer 17 minutes.
  2. Add quinoa, cover and cook 7 minutes.
  3. Add asparagus and cook 2 minutes or until asparagus is tender crisp.
  4. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
  5. Shake off excess water.
  6. Meanwhile, combine oil, vinegar, ginger, salt, black pepper and pepper flakes in a medium bowl.
  7. Add the lentil mixture, mint and pine nuts to the oil mixture and toss, until well coated.
  8. Serve over salad greens.
Notes
  1. Chopped fresh basil leaves works well in this salad in place of the mint leaves for a different twist on the original!
Adapted from Pompeian
Adapted from Pompeian
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Exquisite Ginger


Ginger is one of my favorite spices! Some people call it gingerroot. When fresh it’s gnarly so it needs to be peeled before using. (Ginger is technically a rhizome of the ginger plant.) Ginger is aromatic, pungent and sweet with a touch of musty/earthy undertones. Ginger is considered by many to be an aid to digestion – remember drinking a gingerale when your tummy was upset? Our fall-winter holiday season wouldn’t be the same without gingerbread and the many items that ginger lends its flavor to, such as pumpkin pie.

For those over 60 with a diminished sense of taste, spices are important to add to food to give it more taste. Spices are what I refer to as “flavor intensifiers” and add another layer of flavor to our food.

A Little About Lentils

Lentils are legumes which are related to beans and peanuts. They are technically seeds that are harvested from pods. Lentils can add a great deal of color to a dish as they come in a variety of colors – tan, green, red, orange, golden and black. Unlike dried beans, lentils do not require pre-soaking overnight before cooking. Be sure to rinse them and inspect them for any debris that may have gotten mixed in with the lentils. Lentils have the capability of absorbing flavors with which they are combined. Used all over the world, lentils are high in fiber, iron and Vitamin B12 and may help lower cholesterol. Lentils are often used as meat substitutes due to their protein content.

Versatile Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain grown for its edible seeds. Containing essential amino acids, quinoa also is high in fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron and B vitamins. Quinoa is gluten-free and may be cooked and used just like rice. Quinoa has a low glycemic index and contains minerals and antioxidants. Quinoa imparts a mild, nutty flavor to dishes in which it is an ingredient.

Parting Comments

What a great salad with so many healthy ingredients!

Add your own individual touch to this salad by including your favorite ingredients to the mix!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!

Janet

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Southern Coleslaw – A Versatile Side Dish

The Basics of Coleslaw

Basically, coleslaw is defined as a salad made with chopped or shredded raw cabbage as the main ingredient, usually mixed with shredded carrots and other vegetables and dressed with mayonnaise. My version, Southern Coleslaw, fits the basic definition of coleslaw but adds white wine vinegar to the dressing, as well as finely chopped onion, bell pepper and celery seed for seasoning. Occasionally a coleslaw recipe will include pineapple or apple, nuts, and grated cheese.

Many countries around the world have their own version of coleslaw – in fact the word coleslaw means “cabbage salad” in Dutch. I found it interesting that in Sweden coleslaw is served with pizza and they call it “pizza salad.”

In the Southern United States, coleslaw is traditionally eaten with fish, especially fried fish, and seafood. Restaurants that primarily serve fish and seafood are often called “fish camps.” Coleslaw is also served with BBQ Pork, as a side dish or in the case of a BBQ Pork Sandwich served right on the bun. There is even a Red Slaw, also known as BBQ Slaw, made to accompany Lexington-style North Carolina barbequed pork. Fried Chicken is yet another food with which Southern Coleslaw is served. (In fact I often see “copycat” recipes on the internet for KFC coleslaw!) Southern Coleslaw is also served with hot dogs and hamburgers.


When I was in elementary school, I was served coleslaw in which the cabbage and carrots were minced as finely as those vegetables could be minced. (I don’t know how they got the pieces of carrot and cabbage so small!) I’ve always remembered it and any time now that I’m served coleslaw of that consistency I refer to if affectionately as “elementary school coleslaw.” There is one seafood restaurant in Charlotte that has elementary school coleslaw and this particular restaurant does not call itself a “fish camp” for whatever reason!

The Recipe for Southern Coleslaw

Southern Coleslaw
Serves 10
A salad made with shredded raw cabbage, carrots, onion and bell pepper, dressed with mayonnaise and white wine vinegar and seasoned with celery seed.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium head cabbage, shredded
  2. 2 carrots, peeled & shredded
  3. 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  6. 2 tablespoons sugar
  7. 1 cup mayonnaise
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 2 teaspoons celery seed
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss until mayonnaise and white wine vinegar are evenly coating the other ingredients. Chill for several hours before serving.
Notes
  1. I use a food processor to shred the cabbage and carrots, and chop the onion. However, I recommend chopping the bell pepper with a knife for best results.
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Parting Comments

Celery Seeds are one of my favorite spices to use to flavor coleslaw, egg salad, potato salad and chicken salad. I really like the taste of Celery Seeds! Celery Seeds are found in the flowers of the celery plant, are very small, range from tan to brown in color, and have a strong, pleasant aroma. Celery Seeds were used in ancient medicine to treat colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion and arthritis. Unfortunately there are no recent human scientific studies that verify these claims. I was encouraged to learn that there have been studies that show that Celery Seeds act as a mosquito repellent! (Mosquitos love me – Ugh!) The studies didn’t say whether you had to eat the Celery Seeds or douse yourself with them! I’ll have to do a little more research on that one!

Make some Southern Coleslaw soon and serve it with anything – it’s a very versatile side dish! Remember cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, which is important in cancer prevention. (See my recent post Scalloped Cabbage – Retro Recipe for information about cruciferous vegetables.)

Remember to Savor the Flavor!

Janet

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