This may not be the quickest salad to assemble, but it’s easy enough to prepare and keeps well (in fact, it gets better after a day or two in the fridge as the flavors deepen), so it’s worth the time investment. Quinoa and lentils combine to provide complete protein as well as antioxidants and healthy fiber. The vegetables and dressing add further flavor and even more nutrients. For anyone looking for a nutrient- dense meal – high in nutrients at relatively low caloric cost – this is it! Works well in lunch boxes and picnics, too. Serves 4. (Modern Mediterranean)
History of Quinoa
Quinoa was first domesticated by Andean peoples around 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. It has been an important staple in the Andean cultures where the plant is indigenous but relatively obscure in the rest of the world. The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to it as chisaya mama or “mother of all grains”, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using “golden implements”. During the Spanish conquest of South America, the colonists scorned it as “food for Indians”, and suppressed its cultivation, due to its status within indigenous religious ceremonies. The conquistadors forbade quinoa cultivation for a time and the Incas were forced to grow wheat instead (source).
Quinoa, Lentil & Roasted Vegetable Salad
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 clove Garlic crushed
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 3/4 cup lentils
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 large Red Onion
- 1 Red Pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1 tsp Italian herb mix
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley
- 2 oz feta cheese coarsely crumbled (vegans can omit this)
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsbp whtie balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove Garlic crushed
- salt and pepper
- In a medium pot over medium heat, combine lentils with bay leaf and water (no salt), bring to the boil, then reduce heat to “low,” cover and cook until all the water has been absorbed and the lentils are al dente, about 20-25 minutes.
- In another medium pot, warm a tablespoon of olive oil and fry crushed garlic for 30 seconds, stirring. Add quinoa and stir to coat the grains with the fragrant oil. Add water and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to “low,” cover and cook until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is al dente, about 20-25 minutes.
- While lentils and quinoa are cooking, preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out the sliced onions, peppers and halved tomatoes evenly on the tray, sprinkle with dried herbs and salt and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss until the vegetables are coated with oil, then bake for 30 minutes, turning the vegetables after 15 minutes with a spatula to ensure even browning (set a timer).
- Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and set aside. When quinoa, lentils and vegetables are cooked, combine everything in a large salad bowl. Add basil and parsley, drizzle with the dressing and toss. If you leave the salad to settle for an hour, so much the better – this will allow the flavors to deepen. Just before serving, scatter with feta crumbs.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.