Taste The Colors Of A Rainbow In A Salad

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Are you stuck in a food rut with rice, pasta, whole grain rolls, and so on? I’ve been experimenting a lot with split peas, beans, and lentils to branch out further into the high fiber/high protein starches. It’s good to mix things up for both health reasons but also just for the fun of tasting different flavors. The more excited your taste buds are, the more excited you’ll be to actually eat some new things.

I was looking for a side dish tonight to use up some of my veggies from my produce share and stumbled across a bag of lentils that I forgot that I had purchased. Lentils are cheap as heck in case you’re wondering. So they’ve got that going for them. Alone they don’t really taste like much so you can experiment with flavors and have some fun.

I decided to give them a try in a lentil, beet, butternut squash salad. Doesn’t that just roll of the tongue? I need to come up with a better name than that. The Kid suggested Curry Rainbow Salad instead. What do you think of that one? It makes it sound happy. 😉 The colors of the salad were gorgeous with the red beets, orange squash and green lettuce.

 curry-rainbow-saladCurry Rainbow Salad

  • 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 4 cups beets, cubed
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  •  2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Juice from one lime
  • Lettuce

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and cut the squash and beets into cubes. If you’re lazy like me, you’ll use the bag of pre-cubed butternut squash so that you only have to cut up the beets. Set the squash and beets aside for just a second while you work on the lentils.

Add the lentils and 2 1/2 cups of water to a pot and heat over medium heat to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer covered for 30 – 35 minutes. You want the lentils to be cooked but still hold their shape. You don’t want a pot of mush. Mush is not good for a salad, only if you’re making soup.

While the lentils are cooking, toss the butternut squash and beets with the brown sugar, olive oil, and curry powder. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Your lentils should be ready just about the time the veggies are ready to come out of the oven.

Drain any remaining water from the lentils and stir in the cumin, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste if desired. I didn’t bother with salt and pepper. Arrange a bed of lettuce on a plate and top with the squash, beets and lentils. If you’re feeling daring, you can drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar.

The recipe made 4 servings of approximately 1 3/4 cups at only 140 calories. Note: I didn’t count the lettuce in these measurements. It made a seriously huge serving for 140 calories! I was shocked.

I had leftover steak from last night so I sliced some and put it on top. You can easily go meatless if you’d like. Have someone that hates salad? You don’t have to serve it over lettuce. I commented that it would be good as a filling wrapped in something like a burrito. Or even try dipping tortilla chips into it.

Do you have a meatless Monday at your house?

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