I love eating soup and lentil soup is one of my favorites, 2nd to my absolute favorite, mung bean soup, of course, but when the weather begins to warm up, its time to transition from warming to cooling foods. I find the best way to incorporate legumes into my diet during spring and summer is by making them into salads. This can be eaten on its own, as a side dish, or you can add this to a leafy greens salad. So many options!
Whenever I know I am going to cook legumes, I always, always soak them the day before. Personally, I cannot digest legumes as easily as when they are soaked. It really makes a difference. And the amount of time I soak the legume depends on the grain itself. I only soak lentils for about 1 day, but I would soak mung beans for a minimum of 2 days. And thats if Im in a rush. Sometimes, I end up soaking mung beans for about 5 days, if my schedule becomes busy. Im always pleased when I eat them.
Lentil and Beet Salad
1 cup Lentils, soaked overnight
4 cups water
1/2 red onion, medium diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium beets, medium diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
salt and pepper
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Soak the lentils overnight or at least for 8 hours at room temperature before cooking. In a medium sauce pot, add the 4 cups of water and bring it to a boil. In the meantime, prepare a flat sheet tray with parchment paper and put the medium chopped beets onto the tray. Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, mix well, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until tender. Before cooking the lentils, drain the soaking water, rinse and add the lentils to the medium pot of boiling water. Cook for about 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain the lentils from the cooking liquid but save about 1 cup of the water and set aside. Lay the lentils onto a flat sheet tray to cool and set aside. While the beets are cooking, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a medium sauté pan, on medium heat and add the sliced red onions. Sauté until translucent and add the chopped garlic and sauté for a few minutes more. When done cooking set the onions aside, and on a small flat sheet tray, roast the chopped walnuts for 8 minutes. While waiting for the veggies to cool a little, make the dressing in a small bowl and whisk to incorporate everything well. When ready, get a large mixing bowl and add the lentils, beets, sautéed onions, walnuts, chopped parsley and dressing and mix really well. If the salad looks or tastes a little dry, add a few tablespoons of the lentil water to help to rehydrate the lentils. Adjust flavor with lime juice and salt.