Week of Lentils, Part 1 (Salad)

Years ago, I found a 5 pound bag of red lentils at Costco.  I made a bunch of soup-mix-in-mason-jars that year for Christmas presents, and leisurely used up the rest of those lentils over a long period of time.  As my supply dwindled, I started looking to replace the bag.  Months and months went by and I could not find lentils on the Costco shelves.  I was devastated, because lentils were pretty expensive (comparatively speaking) at the regular grocery store, and I was using them a lot! I finally mentioned it one day in the Costco checkout line when my cashier asked if I found everything I needed.  She remembered the lentils and said Costco didn’t carry them any more.  I told her how much I missed them!

The next time I visited Costco, I found a ten pound bag of green lentils in the rice and quinoa area.  I went right to the same checker and thanked her! Even if she had nothing to do with the product’s return, I thought it was more than coincidence that my beloved lentils were back in stock.

Now, of course, I am faced with the challenge of having a truckload of lentils to use beyond my favorite curry-spiced lentils under a poached egg. This is the first recipe I used, from Family Circle.  I completely forgot to note the issue date, but the link is here:

http://www.familycircle.com/recipe/beans/lentil-salad-with-sausage/

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 package (12 ounces) roasted red pepper & Asiago chicken sausage (such as Al Fresco)
  • 1 can (8.5 ounces) quartered artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat balsamic vinaigrette

Directions

  1. Cook lentils according to package directions, 20 to 25 minutes or until tender; drain.
  2. While lentils are cooking, cut sausages into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons and cook in a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 7 minutes or until lightly browned; remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Stir together lentils, sausages, artichokes, scallions, red pepper and carrot in a medium-size bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over top and stir until well blended. Serve immediately.
 Nutrition Information for Lentil Salad with Sausage

Servings Per Recipe: 4
PER SERVING: 419 cal., 9 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 70 mg chol., 1115 mg sodium, 54 g carb. (11 g fiber), 36 g pro.

I made my own vinaigrette with the oil from the artichokes, which I buy bottled at (surprise!) Costco.  I forgot to read the labels when I picked these up and accidentally bought the ones marinated in oil.  They are super delicious, but I usually buy the water packed ones. I couldn’t toss that flavorful oil, so I added raspberry balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper and used that as the dressing.  I julienned my carrots– I hate grating– and used orange pepper instead of red.  I tried to cut the artichoke pieces and most of them shredded, so they aren’t too visible in the photo.  I put everything into a giant Snapware container and shook it all to get the dressing distributed.

20160604_125042-1

Verdict:  Delicious!  This could easily become a meatless dish with soy crumbles or tempeh, but the browned sausages added such great flavor to this dish.  The lentils were tender, the vegetables crisp, and the dressing lightly fruity and acidic.  This salad could be served warm or cold, and could be a main dish or a side.  I didn’t love the amount of prep involved here, but we did enjoy it.  I would make it again.

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