Spring is an awkward transition. Mornings usually start out near freezing, but by afternoon it's hot as Hades and nearing 80F. You never know whether you want to wear you parka and winter boots or your capri pants and flip flops. Likewise, in the morning you've got your hot cocoa in hand while having visions of piping hot pot roast and mashed potatoes for dinner. However, by the time you leave work you are sweating in your winter clothes and visiting the ice cream stand. You simply just can't win! This salad reminds me of spring. Hearty enough to satisfy, yet light enough to keep you on your toes.
Whole-grain pasta and green lentils are the heart of this salad. Whisk up a light and refreshing Dijon vinaigrette; toss in some carrots, artichokes, and tomatoes and you will have one delightful pasta salad that is perfect for picnics and/or packing in mason jars for your lunch. I think this salad would be equally delicious with white beans in place of lentils. I also think some black olives would make a nice addition.
Tuscan Lentil and Macaroni Salad
Adapted from You Have It Made
by Ellie Krieger
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 cup green lentils
2 medium carrots, diced
8 ounces whole-grain elbow pasta
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons champagne or white vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
One 10-ounce package frozen artichokes, thawed, drained and chopped OR
1 jar quartered and marinated artichoke hearts
1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered OR
2 roma tomatoes, deseeded and chopped into small chunks
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Combine the broth and lentils in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Add carrots and cook until the lentils are tender but still retain their shape, 5 to 10 minutes more. Drain any remaining liquid and allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for 1 minute fewer than it says on the package directions. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil, and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, the vinegar, oregano, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the pasta, lentils and carrots, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and parsley and toss to combine.
This salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Stir well and add a splash of vinegar before serving if desired, as the acidity tends to fade over time.
Serving size: 1-1/2 cups; 360 calories; 11g total fat; 15g protein; 55g carbs; 12g fiber; 0mg cholesterol. Excellent source of: fiber, iron, manganese, protein, vitamin A, vitamin K
|Theme: Green Eating!|
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