A supply of dried grains and legumes is one of my top secrets for easy cooking and healthy eating at the cottage. Add in a trip to the local farm stand for the best of what’s in season locally, and an adventurous Cumin Vinaigrette, and the possibilities are endless. This Brown Lentil, Quinoa and Parsley Salad proves the point.
Whole Grains and Legumes at the Cottage
One of my secrets for healthy eating when I’m at the cottage I rent on Lake Huron (and hey, why not at home too?) is to cook up big batches of whole grains and legumes. They keep well in the refrigerator and can be used over the course of a week in a variety of salads, soups and other dishes.
For the most part, I bring the grains and lentils to the cottage in their dried state, for ease of transportation. Cooked grains and legumes take a lot more space, and need to be kept cool. This time I brought the last of the quinoa from my cupboard, a bag of stylish and new-to-me brown lentils that I found at a health food store just before I left, another of French green lentils and a storage container full of yellow split peas. If I don’t use them all here, there’s no spoilage and it’s no trouble to take them back home again in their compact dried state.
Early in my stay, I cooked up the quinoa which turned out to be one cup dry and expanded to well over three cups cooked. I also cooked two cups of the brown lentils, yielding about five cups, not to mention stock that I saved to use for soup.
Brown Lentil, Quinoa and Parsley Salad
I put some of the cooked quinoa and brown lentils to use in a colourful salad with an abundance of parsley, enough to merit a mention in the title of the dish. Don’t be shy about using parsley as an ingredient and not just as a garnish! The resulting Brown Lentil, Quinoa and Parsley Salad is bright, crunchy, refreshing and wholly satisfying with the heartiness of the lentils and quinoa.
I made up a fairly large amount of a southwest-inspired Cumin Vinaigrette, and had a bit left over for something else this week. This dressing is both tangy and earthy, complementing the hearty salad.
Variations on a Theme
One of the things I love about working with ingredients like quinoa and lentils is their versatility. I can combine them with endless mixes of vegetables and herbs, and take them in a myriad of flavour profile directions by playing with combinations of spices, vinegars and oils in the dressings.
Yes, the kitchen is my playground.
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 2 cups cooked brown lentils
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 4-inch length English cucumber, diced
- 1 medium tomato, cubed
- 1/2 carrot, diced
- 1/2 celery stalk, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 big handfuls parsley, finely chopped
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Soak the diced onion in a small bowl of cold water for 20 minutes or so, or while you’re assembling the rest of the ingredients. Drain.
Combine all ingredients in a big bowl. Toss with the Cumin Vinaigrette below, starting with several tablespoons and then adding more until all the salad components are nicely coated but not wet. Taste and adjust seasonings as required.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp lemon zest, grated or minced
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until well blended.
Looking for More Lentil Ideas?
This selection of recipes proves that lentils are for more than salads and soups. How about Lentils and Beet Greens with Quick Pickled Beets, Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie with Celeriac Mash, or Lentil Cauliflower Curry?
Published 2013 07 03
Updated 2019 03 09
Republished 2019 06 27