It’s been a while since I last shared a recipe with you. I needed a month off. We have been MUCHO busy with sanding, staining & putting new railings on our deck, birthday parties, adding a retaining wall and landscaping to our front yard, perennial gardening, having house guests, having a garage sale, getting a large veggie garden planted, graduation & open house & all that is involved with that (step-son), etc. I’ve had little time or desire to bake unless it was for open house prep or a birthday treat. (Lots of June birthdays in my world.)
Now that we have a little breathing room and my garden is looking fantastic, I suppose it’s salad time. This salad includes fresh spinach and cilantro that is thriving in my garden. That cold winter followed by this mild spring has done wonders for my veggie growing. It’s going to be a bountiful harvest this year. It’s also been a banner spring for my 4 peony bushes. I had dozens and dozens of beautiful blooms this past month.
There is just something about the flavor combo in this salad that is so fresh and yummy. Perfect crunch from the carrots, creamy bite from the lentils and the pop of bright citrus & cilantro really just works.
The fantastically fun purple carrots came from Trader Joe’s. Use regular carrots if purple are not easily accessible. I just adore the color on these carrots. Also from Trader Joe’s, the toasted pumpkin seed oil in this salad. It’s nutty and a fantastic green color. It’s really not a hard oil to find. I previously had a bottle from Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars. A good extra virgin olive oil would work as a substitute.
Yes, I recently made a (very expensive) run to Trader Joe’s. It requires a bit of a day trip for me so I have to stock up whenever I get there.This salad is a little taste of summer. It was so tasty I made it one day for a party I went to and then made it again the very next day to have with dinner at home. Soon I will have cucumbers (a plethora) & tomatoes (piles and piles) ready to go in my garden. Fresh tomato will really be good in this. The tomato pictured was a bit anemic.
I guess I am back in the recipe sharing swing of things. I have several new things on the agenda to share with you in the next month. In the meantime, eat your veggies.
By the way, I swear to you I used red lentils. The color just cooked right out of them!
Spinach & Lentil Salad
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils, cooled & chilled in the fridge. (I used red lentils but green or brown would work, too)
3-4 cups chopped spinach, (a couple big fistfuls roughly chopped up.)
2 carrots, peeled and very thinly sliced. I used a mandolin slicer to get really thin discs. I also used fun purple carrots for some extra color.)
1 tomato, deseeded & chopped
3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/2 a small sweet onion, diced
1/2 a cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced. (I used the mandolin slicer)
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsp toasted pumpkin seed oil. (This is not a hard oil to find and is nutty and delicious. If you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, substitute a good extra virgin olive oil.)
1 clove garlic, minced very fine until it’s paste-like
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Start with cold lentils. I cooked mine according to package instructions the night before I made this salad so the would be fully cold for the salad. Place the lentils in a large bowl. Add the spinach, carrot, tomato, cilantro, onion & cucumber. Toss gently to combine.
In a separate bowl whisk together the lime juice, oil, garlic, salt, cumin & chili powder. Pour over salad and toss to coat. This could be served immediately or refrigerate. I refrigerated a couple hours before serving. It’s also good as left overs the next day after everything has marinaded together.