When it comes to pulses (beans, peas, lentils) my favourite and go-to one are lentils.
I love lentils for a few reasons: they are incredibly versatile, you can hide them in anything for added fiber and protein. I also love the taste of lentils all on their own. I tend to use mostly French lentils and red lentils; the French lentils hold their shape and have more texture and the red lentils cook down nicely which allows you to hide them in many different foods (I especially love to add them to thick, creamy soups – like in this recipe for the World’s Easiest Roasted Tomato Soup)
Lentils are also heart healthy, because they are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, they help to stabilize blood sugar. They are low in fat and calories, helping to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and improving cholesterol. Lentils are also gluten free for those who have allergies or sensitivities to gluten. You can make the lentils yourself (soak dry lentils overnight, drain and then cook on the stovetop) or use a canned version (just be sure to rinse before using them).
When I share recipes I always like to talk about a couple of the ingredients, so not only are the lentils a nutritional power house, this salad has pepitas – which you may know as green pumpkin seeds. Pepitas are a source of a few different of minerals, two tablespoons have roughly 23% of the daily value for iron, 37% magnesium, 33% phosphorus, 19% copper and 42% manganese. Wow, right?!
This salad also has red cabbage which has polyphenols that give it its great antioxidant power.
Antioxidants are found naturally in food and they protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals come about in the body in two ways:
1) a by-product of normal body processes, such as when our bodies use oxygen, and
2) environmental toxins, such as air pollution or cigarette smoke.
When antioxidants are busy fighting free radicals they are helping to keep you healthy and may also help prevent some chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Some antioxidants are in the form of vitamins and minerals (like vitamin C and vitamin E) while others are found naturally in plants. Plant sources are broadly referred to as phytochemicals, the ones that you have most likely heard of are flavonoids, polyphenols and carotenoids.
For more salads with red cabbage you can also check out this recipe for my Peanut Lime Rainbow Salad.
This is a great salad, wholesome and filling, it is a meal within itself.
Roasted Vegetable, Quinoa and Lentil Salad
- 1.5 cups roasted cauliflower
- 1 cup diced beets cooked
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 cups cooked French lentils
- 1 cup cooked mushrooms
- 2 cups sliced red cabbage
- 6 cups lettuce or kale
- 2 green onions diced
- 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
- 3 tablespoons of pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped well
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Optional: top with chopped feta cheese before serving
1) to roast the cauliflower break it into small pieces and lightly toss with olive oil and bake in the oven at 350F for 20-30 minutes until you can easily peirce it with a fork
2) in a large serving bowl put the lettuce on the bottom layer, then top with roasted cauliflower, beets, quinoa, lentils, mushrooms and red cabbage
3) sprinkle on the green onions, sunflower seeds and pepitas
4) to make the dressing mix all ingredients well and until smooth
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