The new year has begun, people make resolutions, to eat healthy, start clean and fresh, a new beginning, a new chapter. New hopes, aspirations, goals and milestones to achieve! People are motivated to eat healthy, eat well, make lifestyle changes, include more vegetables and fruits in their diet etc. It is always hard to keep up though. The key is to make healthy food , appetizing, flavorful and delicious. One way to make food appetizing, and delicious is with spices, and herbs which give so much flavor to food making it attractive to the palate!
I am vegetarian, and I do try to incorporate a lot of vegetables in my diet, but one of my goals this year is to get in more proteins in my diet as well. It is hard for a vegetarian to do so and one way to get more protein is through lentils and beans. Beans tend to increase flatulence, so I do prefer lentils. Lentils by themselves are sort of bland – let’s face it! It always makes it tastier when you incorporate spices with lentils. Also, once made, the taste of the dish gets better with time!
I have here a Winter Lentil Salad that I made using lentils from the grocery store, along with all the fresh produce currently available at the farmer’s market like cara cara oranges, red onions, baby kale, butternut squash, herbs like cilantro, parsley and mint! The buttersquash is cut into strips, tossed in a bunch of spices like cardamom, smoked paprika, ancho chile powder, salt and pepper, olive oil and roasted in the oven for about half an hour at 420 degrees. I love the flavor of this roasted squash! I could just eat it as is!
I mix all the ingredients, with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and hazelnuts. The best part is the drizzle of the herbed yogurt sauce on the top which is made using greek yogurt, sour cream, herbs, garlic and lime juice! Drizzle it on the top of the salad and you have this awesome, healthy, delicious, nutritious, flavorful, fulfilling salad ! and I can guarantee, you will make it again!
If you do make this salad, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on the blog below.
Wishing all my friends and readers a Very Happy New Year! and wishing you all a healthy, happy and peaceful 2017!
- 2 ½ cups lentils
- 3 cups butternut squash cut into small strips like French fries
- About 2-3 tbsp olive oil for the squash
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon ancho chile powder
- ½ red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cara cara orange, skin peeled, sliced thin and each slice cut into 4 quarters
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
- 1 ½ cups baby kale
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped mint
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4-5 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Herbed yogurt sauce:
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 2 tbsp cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven at 420 degrees. On a small sheet pan, with aluminum foil paper, add in the squash. Sprinkle the cardamom, smoked paprika, ancho chile, salt and pepper and olive oil. Mix well and lay them flat on the sheet. Put it into the oven for half an hour. The squash chips should be slightly charred.
- In a medium saucepan, add the lentils and add enough water to soak them completely and leave about 2 inches on top of it. Add 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp salt to the water. On medium heat, keep the lid partially covered and let it boil for about 20 minutes. Check he lentils after 20 minutes to see if they are al dente(not too soft yet there is a bite to the lentil). You can leave it for atmost 5 more minutes. I let it be on for 20 minutes and I like it that way.
- Once the lentils are cooked, drain the water. Add in the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix. Add in the red wine vinegar and mix. Add in the cara cara orange slices, squash, hazelnuts, red onions, cilantro, parsley, mint, baby kale and gently mix. I leave a few of the orange slices, red onion slices, squash strips, cilantro leaves and hazelnuts to garnish on the top after plating.
- For the herbed yogurt sauce, put all the ingredients in a small food processor and blitz until well blended! Drizzle the sauce on the top of the salad! Enjoy.