Iâ€™d forgotten how much I love this time of the year. I love that stillness in the mornings that wasnâ€™t there weeks before and the breezy cool sunny days.
Itâ€™s this time of year too that I start yearning for my favourite â€˜comfort mealsâ€™ again; maybe itâ€™s the cool evenings or the insight that weâ€™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 lentilsâ€¦ sometimes to a point of silliness; I swear I could eat lentils for breakfast, lunch and dinner without complaint â€“ itâ€™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, itâ€™s comforting, hearty and filling, and comes together quickly.
Iâ€™m all about easy to prepare meal; especially during this time when thereâ€™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 itâ€™s shaved fennel, carrots, red onions and sundried tomatoes, finished off with a tangy mustard vinaigrette.
I make plenty so there are 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 â€“ 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, add garlic and cook over medium-high heat
- Cover, bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 20 â€“ 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 maple syrup or 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
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