By Chef Linda
Often when we're hungry, our go-to choices aren't ones that nourish us healthfully. With just a little planning, you can have delicious choices at the ready, like this easy salad made with simple ingredients from your fridge and pantry. All you need is one pot to make this dish, so clean up is a breeze. We used green lentils here, but you can choose brown, black, or French lentils: black and French hold their shapes and texture well and all lentils are full of protein, iron, and fiber. Israeli couscous (also known as pearl couscous) is larger than regular couscous and stands up to the lentils and other ingredients. Celery and carrots add color and crunch, and sliced almonds add texture and healthy fat. Use raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds in place of almonds if you have nut allergies. Perfect for keeping in the fridge but equally wonderful for bringing to summer potlucks and parties. This dish also makes a tasty dish in cooler weather when served warm.
Lentil, Quinoa, and Couscous Salad
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice or mild vinegar (like apple cider)
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 celery sticks, finely chopped, about 1 cup
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped, about 1 cup
1/2 chopped fresh parsley or basil
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup sliced almonds, raw pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds
In a large pot, bring about six cups of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils, return to a boil, then reduce to low and cover. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until they are starting to soften but still have a firm bite. Add the couscous and quinoa. Cook together for an additional 10 minutes, until lentils are tender but not falling apart, and couscous and quinoa are al dente (which means they still have a bite to them).
Use a wire mesh strainer to strain and rinse well with cold water. While the lentils, couscous, and quinoa are in the strainer, make the dressing in the pot. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice. mustard, garlic, and salt. Add the celery, carrots, parsley, and ground pepper. Toss to combine. Empty the strainer into the pot and toss to combine. Taste and adjust flavors, if necessary, by adding more lemon juice, salt, or pepper. Garnish with sliced almonds and serve warm or chill in the refrigerator before serving.