A Quick Cold Quinoa + Lentil Salad

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My midterms are fast approaching…. this means 7 exams written over a very short 96 hours. While I have been doing my best to keep up with the work throughout the semester, balance is important so I have given up some study time to relax with my hubby, visit my family and do things that make my heart happy! I think it is easy to forget about ourselves when our ‘responsibilities’ are piling up. This year, I have decided to make ‘myself’ and my ‘me time’ a responsibility that is near the top of my priority list. Sitting down today to review my schedule for the next few weeks I realized they would be tough, filled with studying and not so much ‘me time.’

I’ll admit it, when exams are nearing and stress begins to build, the energy required to nourish my body and brain with healthy foods can become a hassle. Sometimes food prep SUCKS! I think this is true for many people, hectic work schedules, after school commitments with the kids, laundry, housework etc. What I have learned though, is that when we eat properly, we are better equipped to deal with our stressors in a healthy way. The truth is, its not always possible to eliminate stress. But if we change the way we react to, act during and think about it, I really think we can lead healthier lives. One step in this process is eating right. So, as a responsibility to myself I have decided to try my best to eat properly through this exam period. There are ways to make healthy food more convenient and this salad recipe has become a frequent Sunday activity for me. If you make enough it can last you almost all week for lunches or as a quick dinner side etc.

In this salad I combined quinoa and lentils to make sure it was super protein rich and could stand on its own as a meal at lunchtime. This will ensure you feel satisfied and give your body lots of the nutrients it needs to get through the day! As with most of the recipes I post, you can add whatever veggies or dressing you want to spice it up a little more or make it more personal to your taste! Have fun and be creative. Most of all this is a pretty quick recipe and will help prepare you for your week. I just used what I already had in my house – so there was no grocery shopping required (YAY!). I included some variations in the ingredients list of this recipe too….

Ingredients (this will make about 6 cups of salad – thats alot. Reduce amounts as needed)

2 cups Quinoa

2 cups Lentils (red, brown or green)

1 Cucumber

Cherry tomatoes (I used a whole package)

Arugula, Spinach or any other green (I used arugula – I like its peppery flavour)

Turmeric (ground)

Sea Salt (to taste)

Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar (or lemon juice/apple cider vinegar work too)

Directions

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1. Rinse your quinoa and lentils. I cooked mine separately because if you overcook your lentils they are very mushy and not great for a cold salad. Bring your quinoa to boil in 4 cups of water, add 2 tsp Turmeric, reduce heat and simmer until all water is evaporated. Bring your lentils to boil in a large pot with 5 cups water and boil until tender but not mushy (about 30 mins for red/brown lentils, maybe a bit longer for green).

2. While everything is cooking, halve your cherry tomatoes and chop your cucumber.

3. Strain your quinoa and lentils, allow them to cool and add them to a large salad bowl.

4. Add your tomatoes, cucumber and arugula to your salad and combine. I also added some left over Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric + Ginger and it was SO GOOD.

5. Salt + Pepper to taste.

6. In a small bowl add your olive oil and vinegar and whisk to combine. Use about a 3:1 ratio of olive oil:vinegar. The amount will depend on how much salad you made. I don’t use too much because your salad will keep longer if there is not too much dressing. If you want to use a pre-made dressing, Greek works very well with this salad and you can just add it with each serving. The sky is the limit here guys! Dress it up however you want.

This is a pretty bare bones recipe but I posted because its fast + it gives you a great, high protein meal that will last about 1 week in the fridge. Enjoy.

Photo credit 2: blairingmedia / Foter / CC BY-SA

 

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