Monday, October 17, 2011

Easy Party Lentil Salad With Fresh Corn And Red Bell Pepper. Vegan, Gluten Free And Inexpensive To Make!

Inspired by Alice Waters - Perfect for a holiday gathering!

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Almost Time for Holiday Parties
With the holidays approaching, you'll soon be looking for party recipes. Here's a quick and easy dish that's stores well so you can make it earlier in the day or even the night before. Lentils cook quickly, unlike other beans, and are an affordable way to feed a crowd. Because the salad is vegan and gluten free, all your guests, irregardless of their eating preferences, can enjoy it! Not having a party? Feel free to cut the recipe in half and serve it for lunch or dinner.

Why you should Love Lentils 
Truth be known, I hated lentils as a kid but I love them now. And it's a good thing because they are a very healthful food. Here are a few reasons why you should LOVE lentils:
* For those of you who don't eat read meat, lentils are a great source of iron. One cup provides a third of your daily requirements.
* You heart will be happy! Studies have shown that you have a much lower risk of heart disease when you eat high fiber legumes. One cup of lentils provides 16 grams of fiber - nearly two thirds of your daily requirement! The high fiber content also helps lower your cholesterol level. And lentils have zero saturated fat and cholesterol. I told you your heart would be happy!
* All that fiber also stabilizes your blood sugar making it a wonderful food for those with diabetes or hypoglycemia. 
* Tired of people asking you where you get your protein? These powerful legumes contain 18 grams of protein per cup. Together with corn (which provides the amino acids methionine and cystine) you have a complete protein! 

Party Lentil Salad
Vegan, Gluten Free
[Serves 10 or more]

2 cups green lentils
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cold pressed, flaxseed oil *
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (scallions)
1 cup corn (kernels from 1 large ear of corn)
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
* If you do not have flaxseed oil, omit and increase olive oil from 3 to 4 tablespoons. The addition of flaxseed oil improves the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids to 1:1. When you buy flaxseed oil, make sure it is cold pressed and has a "press date" to make sure it's fresh. It should be in the refrigerated section of the grocery or health food store.

Sort through the lentils removing stones or clumps of dirt and rinse well. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook, partially covered, for 25 to 30 minutes until cooked through but not mushy. Drain.
In a large bowl, toss the hot lentils with vinegar, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Mix olive and flaxseed oils with lemon juice and add to the lentils along with bell pepper, onions, corn, carrot and parsley. Mix gently until combined and serve. 
If you are planning to make it the night before, don't add the fresh parsley until you are ready to serve it. Also, remove from refrigerator an hour before serving so it can get to room temperature.

Per serving: 206.1 calories, 6.2 g fat, 0.7 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0.8 g omega 3 and 0.8 g omega 6 fatty acids, 10.9 g protein, 27.9 g carbohydrates, 12.9 g fiber and 243.8 mg sodium.

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