Dinner tonight!: Quinoa lentil salad with tomatoes
Nutty quinoa, French lentils, fresh mint and parsley, a little garlic and some bright tomatoes make for a perfect summer salad, whether you're looking for a light main course or flexible side dish. (And if you don't tell, you're guests probably won't even suspect that it's vegetarian!) Continue reading below for the recipe.
For more quick-fix dinner ideas, check out our video recipe gallery here. Food editor Russ Parsons and Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter show you how to fix a dozen dishes in an hour or less.
Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times
Total time: 50 minutes, plus cooling and chilling times
1 cup French green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or cider vinegar, plus more for drizzling
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and strained
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 cups cherry or other little tomatoes, halved
1. Place the lentils in a large saucepan and fill with water to cover by 2 inches. Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes, then drain the lentils and transfer them to a medium bowl. Season the lentils with one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper and drizzle over about 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Taste the lentils, and adjust the seasoning or vinegar, or both, if desired. Set aside the lentils to cool, stirring occasionally.
2. In a large saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cooking until the grain is soft and translucent, about 15 to 20 minutes. The water should be absorbed; if not entirely absorbed, drain any excess. Remove from heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of oil on the grain and stir gently.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, one-fourth cup vinegar, one-half cup olive oil, one-fourth teaspoon salt and one-eighth teaspoon pepper. Taste and add additional seasoning if desired.
4. Stir the cooled lentils in with the quinoa in the large bowl. Stir in the dressing, then cover and chill the salad for at least one hour.
5. Just before serving, stir in the mint, parsley and tomatoes and check the seasoning. Drizzle with a bit more vinegar and oil.
Each serving: 387 calories; 13 grams protein; 40 grams carbohydrates; 10 grams fiber; 20 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 202 mg. sodium.