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So you don’t eat meat. But where on Earth do you get your protein? Are you ready to get your finger on the pulse?

Lentil Salad

Every single vegetarian or vegan in this world has been asked this question, without a doubt! As much as you may want to roll your eyes to the heavens, it’s easy to forget that there was probably a time when you researched this question yourself. I certainly remember the early months of scrutinising every label and reading up on calcium, protein, B12 etc. Choosing to take something out of our usual diets means something else needs to take that place. Quite a simple equation, really!

This pretty Lentil Salad is a sure winner to entice your taste buds whilst providing fabulous plant-based protein. It’s the kind of salad that tastes great with lots of different herbs and would also be lovely with finely slices spinach or colourful chard leaves.

Lentil Salad 3

I can’t wait to make it with my own cucumbers and tomatoes… At the moment they’re still looking like this:
Green Tomatoes Cucumber

But do you remember these?
Summer tomatoes Fresh tom
Oven-Roasted Tomatoes (October 2013)

Last year’s tomato harvest was incredibly abundant and the pictures are exactly the kind of incentive I need to keep me watering the greenhouse enthusiastically.

For now, I’m happy to include my own fresh herbs and eye-catching borage flowers from the garden in this recipe. Alex, my four-year old, loves this salad and has especially requested it for lunch. It’s always such a joy to see my boys tucking in with gusto. During their toddler years they’ve both had phases of being picky eaters but since then they’ve developed a great sense of adventure when it comes to new tastes and flavours. Phewww, we did it…thank goodness for that 🙂

Lentil Salad 2

 

Lentil Salad

Good olive oil adds a wonderful earthy flavour to any salad dressing but for a low-fat version you can easily omit it. I’ve tried both versions and it works equally well without.
Serves 4-6

250g green or puy lentils (they hold their shape best and don’t go mushy)
4 ripe tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
20 pitted olives
1/2 red onion
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp soya yoghurt
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
salt and black pepper
fresh chives, finely sliced

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the lentils. I like to use a vegetable stock cube in the water to give some extra seasoning to the lentils. Cook until tender, then drain and set aside to cool. Check the packet for timings as different lentils vary in cooking time.

Finely chop the onion. Cut the tomatoes and cucumber into small pieces and slice the olives. Mix with the cooled lentils. Stir in the yoghurt, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and add plenty of fresh chives – 2-3 tablespoons, at least. If you don’t serve this straight away, check the seasoning as the lentils always absorb a lot of the dressing flavours.
Best enjoyed with crusty baguette, a glass of wine and with good friends to share.
I’d like to submit this recipe to the first Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck (link here:http://wp.me/p4gISF-3dr)

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Great resource from Peta

What’s your favourite way to include beans and lentils in your diet? I’d love to hear if they get your pulse racing?

 

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