I. Alternative greens – kale, spinach, endive, radicchio – some nutrient rich, some just pricey!
II. Grains – lentil, farro, chickpeas, other beans and rice, couscous – nutrient rich and caloric, very inexpensive way to gain non-animal proteins, fiber, these are filling as a side, salad or main dish!
III. Cooked veggies – corn, legumes, string beans, roasted beets, etc – nutrients, lovely warm, cold, room temp, they hold well for multiple meals with vinaigrettes and add color to buffet tables, accommodating vegetarian, non-dairy, vegan, and no wheat diets.
IV. Dressing – Basic ratios consist of 2 or 3 parts vinegar to 1 part oil (I like olive oil, sherry or white wine vinegar), salt and pepper to taste
V. Add ins – COLOR and TEXTURE!
Such as: mustard, minced shallots, tiny diced peppers, a few spinach leaves, sweet element (fruit or fruit vinegars), nuts, herbs for color and interest (go beyond parsley and basil!) surprise with lemon thyme or mint or… flavored croutons, cheese or diced egg or meats (especially if you are trying to get more protein or calcium into your diet! Sneak in some minced kale…)
1 pound French Green Lentils
¾ c. currants
1/3 c. capers
1 c finely chopped red onion
¼ c. very finely diced raw carrots
Clear Curried Vinaigrette (See below)
Wash lentils and cook them in boiling water for 35-40 minutes, or until just tender. (You can also make this recipe with red lentils. Then, they only cook about 5 minutes.) Rinse and drain well. Combine with Clear Curried Vinaigrette and let sit overnight. At least two hours before serving, add currants, capers, onions and raw carrots. (Optional: can also add diced apple or bite sized pieces of roast leg of lamb.) Let marinate several hours. Enjoy!
Clear Curried Vinaigrette
¾ c. oil
½ c. wine vinegar
2 TBPS Sugar
2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp pepper
1 Tsp Ground cumin
1 Tsp dry mustard
½ Tsp turmeric
½ Tsp Mace
½ Tsp Coriander
½ Tsp Cardamom
¼ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
¼ Tsp. Ground Cloves
¼ Tsp. Nutmeg
¼ Tsp. CinnamonIngredients
½ cup sherry vinegar
¾ cup olive oil (extra virgin is great!)
1 shallot, ¼” dice
Herbs: 2 Tbls. minced basil is always great OR
1 tsp. dried oregano, thyme, tarragon are also fine
Salt to taste (approx. ½ tsp.)
Freshly ground pepper (10 turns of a peppermill = ¼ tsp.)
Mix everything into a pint jar, shake to emulsify, and keep refrigerated up to two weeks. The shallots will become milder as they sit in the vinaigrette, so it won’t taste like “raw onion” when you use it. This is plenty of dressing for several cups of beans, depending how much and how many other ingredients you add to your salad. I start with about ¼ cup dressing per 2 cups of beans, then add more to taste.
Dressing a bean salad:
1. While the beans are warm, they absorb more of any dressing
2. Adding a small amount of additional dressing (2 Tbls. for 2-4 cups of beans) at serving time will “perk up” the salad
3. Adding a few drops of fresh lemon juice (1/2 half lemon) at the last minute also makes a salad sparkle, without adding more salt (which is another option just at service time)
Share and enjoy!
1 1/2 cup Farro (pearled)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 finely chopped parsley leaves
1 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup cheese (crumbled goat or feta cheese or small cubes of provolone)
1 can of chickpeas or Black Beans
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black peper
1. In a large pot combine the farro and enough water to come 2 inches over the farro. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until tendor. Drain and let cool.
2. Toast the walnuts in a dry medium skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and finish seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.