Tag Archives: basil

Lentil Salad Three Ways

Lentil Salad Three Ways

Buy a bag of lentils at Safeway for $1.49, or spend $8 for a fancy box of French Le Puy Lentils at Whole Foods. Either way, you can create a myriad of healthy salads that will keep in the fridge for about a week and work as main dishes, sides or snacks. Put the lentil salad on top of a bed of lettuce or the add arugula for bite. Roll the lentils up in a whole wheat tortilla for a healthy bean wrap. Serve warm with fish, like Salmon or Mahi Mahi. The possibilities are endless.

To prepare the lentils, follow the directions on the side of the package. Do not pre-soak lentils. They cook pretty quickly. Typically, for a 16 oz bag of lentils, bring 8-10 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Add the lentils and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes. For salads, you want the lentils to maintain a little bite so that they don’t get too mushy. Start checking them at 25 minutes to get the texture just right. A 16-oz bag of lentils will yield about six cups of cooked lentils.

Heirloom Tomato-Basil Lentil Salad

Heirloom Tomato-Basil Lentil Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

2 cups cooked lentils
1 large or 2 small heirloom tomatoes, diced into small cubes.
2 Tbsp minced shallots or scallions
1/4 cup minced fresh basil and additional leaves for garnish
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tbsp of Crumbled Feta (optional) – I left it out because I like to try to be vegan when I can

Method

1. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar into an emulsion. Toss lentils, tomatoes, shallots, minced basil, and oil vinegar to combine. Season with pepper and garnish with basil leaf and feta if using. Serve chilled.

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette Lentil Salad

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette Lentil Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 Tbsp minced shallot or scallions
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp minced tarragon

Method

1. Whisk together the vinegar, shallots, salt, pepper, olive oil, mustard and tarragon. Toss with red bell pepper and lentils to combine. Garnish with tarragon leaves. Serve chilled.

Lemon Dill Lentil Salad

Fresh Lemon-Dill Lentil Salad

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients
2 cups cooked lentils
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced
2 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp minced shallot or scallions
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Whisk together lemon juice, shallots, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss with lentils, red bell pepper and fresh dill to combine. Garnish with sprigs of dill.

Heirloom Tomato Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Recently I decided to host a dinner party on Sunday night, hoping to stretch out the weekend a bit and squelch the Sunday night blues. It totally worked.

For inspiration, I turned to a book that has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of months: Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties: Inspired Recipes and Party Ideas for Entertaining. I even found a menu that I wanted to cook from start to finish. I’m glad I decided to go all the way because it turned out to be the kind of menu that allows the cook/host to have fun at her own party, but it didn’t include a pot roast or a casserole. Au contraire. This menu was light, healthy, elegant AND easy. The main course was a Halibut fillet with herbed butter and that was served with this light, end-of-summer, orzo salad.

What I liked best about serving this salad with the fish is that it could be prepared ahead of time and served at room temperature, so I didn’t have to worry about making it at the last minute or reheating it at just the right time. Stay tuned for more recipes from this Sunday Night Dinner Party.

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Orzo Salad
(Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties cookbook)
Serves 8

Ingredients

1 box (1 lb) of orzo
dash of salt for boiling water
1 Tbsp olive oil to coat orzo when finished cooking (to keep from sticking)
1 1/2 lbs Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (choose a variety of colors)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Method

1. Boil the orzo according to package instructions for an Al Dente texture, about 9 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Once the pasta cools a bit, you can cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until its ready to mix in with the rest of the ingredients (up to several hours ahead of time).

2. Chop tomatoes and the basil and mix together in a large bowl.

3. In a small jar, mix the olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Close lid and shake until emulsified.

Final preparation: About 1 hour before the party, gently fold the orzo, tomato/basil and vinaigrette together and spoon into a serving bowl. Cover with a paper towel while salad reaches room temperature. Toss again before serving and garnish with fresh Basil leaves.

Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Other Orzo Salad Recipes from Around the Web:

Orzo Salad and The Influential Power of Simple Food from Week of Menus

Miss Mary’s Orzo Salad from Erin Cooks

Orzo Salad (this one’s got Feta, people) from Dlyn

Spinach and Tomato Orzo from Southern Grace Gourmet

Garlic Ginger Basil Salmon

Garlic Ginger Basil Salmon from Foodwishes

Garlic Ginger Basil Salmon from Foodwishes

I’ve been happily eating lighter dishes of late and last night, I even bought fish at the grocery store: wild caught Coho salmon for $14.99/lb. I searched StreamingGourmet for a salmon recipe and decided to use Chef John’s Garlic, Ginger, Basil Salmon video recipe. Chef John has the most comprehensive collection of video recipes on the web. Catch them on StreamingGourmet, but for complete recipes and the entire collection, please visit Foodwishes.blogspot.com. Chef John’s complete Garlic Ginger Basil Salmon blog post is here.

Wild Coho Salmon

Wild Coho Salmon

The recipe is super easy. In short, you brown the salmon in some olive oil for about 4 minutes (depending on the thickness). Then after you flip it, pour in a prepared sauce that has minced garlic, minced ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, chili sauce and water. It bubbles up and starts to evaporate. Sprinkle on the basil, and then as the sauce cooks down, it thickens just as the fish is ready. I enjoyed sautéed Brussels sprouts with mine. I spooned some of the sauce over the Brussels sprouts while they were cooking too.

Sauce cooking down

Sauce cooking down

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