Thursday, April 23, 2009

Brown Rice & Lentil Salad

This is a recipe that I made off the cuff this weekend to take to a BBQ and it was a good complement to burgers.

I pre-cooked 4 cups brown, basmati rice (or any type of long grain) in my rice cooker. If you refrigerate it just put it in a bowl and break it up so there are no rice clumps.

Then I cooked 1 cup of dry lentils in enough water to cover them and added a bay leaf and clove of garlic. I cooked until they were soft enough to bite into without any crunch and had to add water periodically so they didn't burn. (You can purchase pre-cooked lentils at Trader Joe's that would work perfectly here.) I didn't end up using all the lentils that I cooked - I used approximately 1.5 cups of cooked lentils.

A few hours before I wanted to serve the salad, I added a medium-sized onion minced; approx 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegarette (Melanie's One Cup Salad Dressing); 2 TBLS of salt and 1 TBLS of pepper (add more or less to taste). Seasonings are mostly to allow the rice and lentils to grab some flavor. You might have to add more of each when you add all the final ingredients.

Before you serve, add the following; two bell peppers, minced; 1 cup chopped italian parsley. (For color I added a yellow and orange to contrast with the browns of the rice and lentils however, they are also a bit sweeter tasting than a green bell pepper.) Mix it all together and taste for proper seasoning - add more as needed.

Options: if you don't have the vinegarette made you can just use 1 part olive oil, 1/2 part balsamic vinegar and touch of dijon mustard. Also, I think this needed some scallions to add more kick and boost the greenery.

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