Posts tagged: lentils

Lovin’ On Legumes

By Katie, 5:04 am

Yesterday I posted about Loving Little Katie (I can’t thank all of you enough for your supportive comments and emails! It means so much to me!). So today I thought I’d go a little lighter and shower some love on something else entirely: LEGUMES.

I have to come clean about my reason for wanting to post about legumes: I had no idea what they were. Well, not no idea, but only a very vague one. And I figured a blog post would be a great way to educate myself!

I think my confusion started when I learned in my high school French class that the word for vegetable in that language is “légume.” So I then assumed that our word “legume” also simply meant “vegetable.” But no, it’s a little more narrow than that.

Apparently, the English word “legume” refers specifically to plants that bare their fruit in their seed pods, which split along both sides when ripe. That clears the confusion right up, now doesn’t it? :-?

It’s easier to understand by example. Here are some common legumes:

  • black beans
  • chickpeas
  • green peas
  • green beans
  • soy nuts
  • peanuts
  • lentils
  • kidney beans
  • sugar snap peas
  • lima beans
  • black-eyed peas

According to this Baltimore Sun article, legumes pack a pretty powerful punch. On average, a single serving (usually 1/2 cup) provides at least 20% of our daily need for fiber, folate, and manganese. They also give at least 10% of our daily need for protein, potassium, iron, magnesium, and copper. Not to mention they are CHEAP (because who isn’t on a budget right now?) and they store well for long periods of time.

So if you’re ready to get your legume love on, here are some of my favorite recipes featuring this awesome cast of characters.

Corn and Black Bean Pizza

Chunky Red Bean Spread

Maple Baked Beans

Lentil Salmon Salad

Chickpea-Spelt Burgers

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

Did you know what legumes were? Do you have a favorite legume? Black beans might be my favorite, although I do love edamame and hummus a whole lot!

Lentil Salmon Salad

By Katie, 7:17 am

My food cravings definitely change along with the seasons. In the winter I long for hearty soups and stews; a big bowl of chili with a side of cornbread soothes my soul. In the summer, however, my taste buds cry out for juicy fruits, icy smoothies, and refreshing SALADS. 8-)

In the summer I love turning picnic-y, side-dish-type salads into main meals. Take, for instance, this Lentil Salmon Salad. It’s definitely the kind of salad I would bring along to a backyard BBQ (for an upcoming Memorial Day celebration, perhaps?), but it also makes a fabulous meal in and of itself. Perfect for a warm summer night when you can’t bear the thought of turning on the oven or standing in the kitchen for longer than 10 minutes (yes, you can whip up this dish in under 10 minutes!).

Well, that’s if you use cooked lentils like I did. If your lentils are uncooked, it will take a little more time, but not more than 30 minutes or so. You could also cook and flake your own salmon, but using canned salmon makes this dish super easy.

I served it over a bed of Boston lettuce leaves.

Another perk: the recipe makes a ton – again, perfect for parties or cookouts. Or leftovers!!! This salad makes an excellent stuffing for a wrap.

Lentil Salmon Salad
Slightly Adapted from Eating Well
Yields 6 1-cup servings

Ingredients
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp dried dill
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
3 cups cooked lentils
1.5 cups cooked flaked salmon (1-14.5 oz can or 2-7 oz cans)**

1. Whisk together the lemon juice, dill, Dijon, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

2. Add the oil a little bit at a time, continually whisking as you go.

3. Add the bell pepper, cucumber, onion, lentils, and salmon. Stir gently to coat.

**Dave pointed out that tuna would work equally well, if you prefer!

What’s your favorite summer salad? Pasta salad? Potato salad? Macaroni salad? Lentil salmon salad? ;-)

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