Mapple Lentil Salad with Tomatoes and Crumbled Feta

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When it comes to cooking, one of my mom’s specialties is her “world famous” lentil salad with onions and a dijon vinaigrette. I grew up with it, and it has definitely become one of my go-to lunch options when I’m on a time crunch. It’s fast, easy, and incredibly satisfying. Yet, I recently stumbled upon a lentil salad recipe on My New Roots, Sarah Britton’s amazing food blog. What immediately caught my eye was her title: “The Best Lentil Salad, Ever”. When I first read it, I naturally thought to myself that however good her recipe would be, it wouldn’t top my mom’s. After trying it, I have to admit that it’s delicious, but in a different way. The star of her recipe is the dressing, a spicy Maple Vinaigrette with dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar (so basically a twist of my mom’s dressing). Since I was quite skeptic when I first saw the list of ingredients, I slightly tweaked it, and it turned out to be one of the best dressings I’ve ever tasted. So though I still love my original (more simple) recipe, this one’s a keeper for when you need to step up your game! Bon appétit!

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Recipe for the dressing barely adapted from My New Roots.


Prep Time: 10 min

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • a handful of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 small onion
  • crumbled feta cheese (to taste)
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • salt, pepper to taste

Maple Vinaigrette:

  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • a pinch turmeric
  • a pinch nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Make the Maple Vinaigrette by mixing all the ingredients well together, in a closed container.
  2. Meanwhile, roughly chop the cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, and fresh parsley, and put them in a bowl.
  3. Add the cooked (and cooled down) lentils to the bowl, toss with the dressing and the veggies, and top with crumbled feta cheese and some more fresh parsley. Adjust the seasoning and enjoy!
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(Post) Winter Quinoa Salad

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Though it’s officially spring season, the weather here in Philly is still on the wintery side. It seems fitting to celebrate this new season with a wintery dish. Quinoa bowls are always amazing when it comes to warming you up. They’re hearty, healthy and make you feel good inside. This specific bowl is amazing thanks to the refreshing apple cider vinaigrette. It adds a nice fruity taste to the delicious caramelized vegetables. As per usual, I roast my veggies in big batches over the week end so that this type of recipes only take me 10 minutes to prepare on week days. This recipe is perfect if you want to indulge in a wintery dish on this cold spring beginning, or if you feel like trying a new quinoa dish. Bon appétit!

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Prep Time: 15 minutes (with pre-roasted veggies) or 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash
  • 1/2 carrot (sliced in ribbons with a vegetable peeler)
  • 1/4 cup diced pancetta
  • salt, pepper to taste

Apple Cider Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. If you haven’t pre-roasted your vegetables, preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the cauliflower, butternut squash and carrot ribbons with olive oil and roast until tender and caramelized (about 40 minutes for the cauliflower and butternut squash, and 4 minutes for the carrot ribbons).
  2. Cover the dried quinoa with ½ cup water, and cook until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender (about 15 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pancetta until brown and slightly crispy, in a dry pan over medium-high heat. This should take about 5 minutes.
  4. Make the apple cider vinaigrette by mixing the mustard and apple cider vinegar together first. Then add the olive oil and mix until homogeneous.
  5. When the quinoa is ready, add it to the bowl, and toss with the dressing, crispy pancetta and roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, and carrot ribbons. Adjust the seasoning and enjoy!

Heart Warming Winter Salad

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It’s Freezing cold here in Philly! The city’s covered in snow and school even got cancelled because of the harsh weather forecast. At lunch time, I found myself searching through my pantry, as going grocery shopping was not an option. I couldn’t even imagine braving the snow storm and the cold. This salad came together beautifully and really lifted my spirits up. It’s pretty, full of colors and flavors, and the lemon-dijon dressing really steals the show! Though it requires a bit of prep time, it’s nothing too complicated. My technique is actually to roast a bunch of veggies on the weekends when I have more time, and store them in my fridge for the week. That way, I can always grab them and add them to all my dishes in minutes. Bon Appétit!

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Prep Time: 40 min from scratch or 10 min with pre-roasted veggies.

Base Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cauliflower head, cut in small florets
  • 1 cup diced butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • a bunch of pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • salt, pepper to taste

Lemon Dijon Dressing:

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp plain yogurt
  • 1 pinch of cumin and turmeric
  • salt, pepper, and a bit of sriracha (optional)

Directions:

  1. If you haven’t done so already, roast the cauliflower and butternut squash with olive oil and salt, at 400°F, for about 30 minutes in the oven.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the 1/4 cup of dried quinoa in a pot with about 1/2 cup of water.
  3. Start to make the dressing by mixing the mustard with the lemon juice. Then add the olive oil, the yogurt, and the spices to taste, while you’re still mixing.
  4. When the quinoa is cooked (about 20 minutes) set aside to let it cool until the veggies are roasted.
  5. In a bowl, put the quinoa, roasted veggies, pomegranate seeds and crumbled feta. Drizzle with the lemon dijon dressing, toss gently, and enjoy!

TIP: I like to mix the dressing with the quinoa first and then add the veggies, but that’s totally up to you!