Greek-inspired lentil and couscous salad

lentilsaladI love lentils.  They’re cheap, easy to make, a great source of fiber, fat-free and chock full of vitamins and minerals (including iron!).

It is, however, a sad truth that lentils aren’t terribly sexy.

They’re the food equivalent of that guy with a great personality you want to set up your bff with, but she’s having none of it, based solely on his Facebook photos.

*Sigh*

I’ll tell you what I’d tell her – Don’t be shallow and miss out on something great. 🙂

In addition to being very easy to make, we had already had everything for this salad in the pantry (except for the tomatoes), so it turned out to be very frugal too.  Woohoo!   This is a very flexible recipe, and I adapted it to emphasize its Greek flavors.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl couscous
  • 1 cup lentils (used Goya brand, not sure if they’re green or brown)
  • 1 (10 ounce) package grape tomatoes
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • about 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves, crumbled
  • about 1/2 cup feta (I didn’t measure, just cut and crumbled over the salad until it looked right)

Lentils and pearl couscous, like rice, approximately double when cooking.  Both can cooked either A) in excess water , draining when done or B) in twice as much water as solid until the water is all absorbed.  I prefer to use a little extra water and drain it at the end, because you can’t add more water if it evaporates more quickly than you were planning.  If you’re going to add spices during cooking, you’ll want to add the exact amount of water needed.

Instructions

  1. Rinse the lentils, cover with about 2 cups water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a very low boil, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are tender but not mushy.  Rinse under cold water, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and set aside
  2. While the lentils are cooking, bring about 2 cups of water to boil and add couscous.  Cook until tender, 7 – 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain if necessary, and rinse under cold water.  Both lentils and couscous should be slightly cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine lentils, couscous, tomatoes, cucumber and green onion.
  4. Shake together oil, vinegar, mint and honey.  Pour over salad and toss.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Crumble feta over the salad and stir in.

We ate this with some grilled chicken, and I really believe it added a perfect smoky, outdoorsy, Summery touch to the meal.  I can’t wait for lunch!

Note: The “Print and PDF” button below will allow you to delete as much of the text and pictures  as you like prior to printing, so you’ll save on ink and paper.

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