I’d forgotten how much I love this time of the year. I love that stillness in the mornings that wasn’t there weeks before and the breezy cool sunny days.
It’s this time of year too that I start yearning for my favourite ‘comfort meals’ again; maybe it’s the cool evenings or the insight that we’re about be plunged into cold dark nights, but there’s something about this time that has me craving big hearty salads and soups.
I love lentils… sometimes to a point of silliness; I swear I could eat lentils for breakfast, lunch and dinner without complaint – it’s pretty evident from the amount of lentil recipes I have on this blog.
I love this time of year for salads like this wonderful quinoa and lentils with vegetables, it’s comforting, hearty and filling, and comes together quickly.
I’m all about easy to prepare meal; especially during this time when there’s still light out to bring dinner down to the beach or eat out on the balcony.
This is a well-rounded salad that can be adapted to include your favourite vegetables and legumes; use peas instead, or carrots or roast your fennel first for caramelized sweetness – I did this a few weeks ago.
I usually precook the lentils and quinoa and store them in the fridge, and reheat them when I’m ready to make the salad.
I use whatever vegetables I have on hand; with this salad it’s shaved fennel, carrots, red onions and sundried tomatoes, finished off with a tangy mustard vinaigrette.
I make plenty so there’re leftovers for the rest of the week because I love this salad more after a day or two, it gets even more wonderful when the ingredients have had a chance to get to know each other better.
Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad
- 1 cup quinoa (preferably mix of white and red)
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse quinoa thoroughly under running water
- On Stovetop- In a medium pot with lid, combine quinoa with vegetable stock or water and add a pinch of salt to taste.
Bring to boil over medium heat, then lower heat and let it simmer until fully cooked and liquid is absorbed.
Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool
- Rice Cooker – Put rinsed quinoa in rice cooker with vegetable stock or water, add a pinch of salt to taste, stir and set to cook per machine instructions
Fluff with fork when your rice cooker shuts off and set aside to cool
- 1 cup Puy/French lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Rinse lentils thoroughly and combine with water in a pot or saucepan and cook over medium-high heat
- Cover, bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 20 – 25 minutes until tender. (Add water as needed to ensure lentils have enough water to cook in)
- Add salt, reduce heat and let lentils cook for an additional 5 minutes
- Drain water from lentils, discard garlic and set aside to cool
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk the mustard and lemon juice and honey together
- Drizzle in the olive oil to make an emulsion.
- Add the garlic powder, lemon zest, pepper flakes and salt, and ground black pepper, to taste.
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 1 small bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot, grated or spiraled
- 2 – 3 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, chopped or handful cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leafed parsley, plus more for garnish
- Combine quinoa and lentils in a large bowl
- Add onions, bell pepper, fennel, carrots and sundried tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes), and mix
- Add dressing, toss gently to coat and add parsley
- Allow salad to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes
- Taste and adjust seasoning (salt, pepper, lemon juice etc.) to taste