Monday, March 1, 2010

vegan lentil and wild rice salad

cool and composed

Recently at work, I shared a salad of greens, grain, legumes, and crunchy bits, dressed with a light, citrus mustard dressing. I was thrilled when many of my co-workers requested the recipe! The salad features a healthy dose of protein: nine grams per cup of lentils, seven grams per cup of wild rice, plus a couple of grams in the other goodies. Mâche, a tender, mild salad green, has a protein content similar to baby spinach (a little less than one gram per cup).

While I think that wild rice is the perfect grain for this salad, the other components can easily be switched up based on the legumes, greens, nuts and seeds in your pantry and fridge. My last rendition included field peas, shredded kale, and chopped segments of fresh tangelo. The simple, bright dressing will flatter any combination you can dream up!

In a composed salad, like the one pictured above, the elements are plated separately instead of being tossed together. In addition to being an elegant presentation, this technique is advantageous: the hardy ingredients can be dressed in advance, while the delicate greens and crunchy seeds can remain pristine, retaining their distinctive textures. While composed salads lend a classy touch to special meals, it's more practical to prepare a tossed salad when serving a group. I prefer the latter, casual approach; the results are just as delicious!

All of the ingredients in this recipe can be purchased at Trader Joe's; in fact, you can find fully-cooked wild rice and lentils there! If you go the fully-cooked route, this salad becomes a fantastic option for an at-work lunch and other impromptu occasions.

Lentil and Wild Rice Salad
makes four generous servings
  • 1 cup cooked, cooled wild rice
  • 1 cup cooked, cooled green lentils
  • 1 cup broccoli slaw
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 2 handfuls loose mâche or baby spinach
  • pinch of salt, generous grind of pepper
  • Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning or other neutral seasoning blend
Citrus Mustard Dressing
  • Juice of one large orange
  • Juice of two lemons (about 1/2 cup juice total)
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. First, prepare the dressing in a small mixing bowl. Combine citrus juices and mustard and whisk together. Gradually add olive oil in a slow drizzle, whisking constantly to form an emulsion.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, gently combine the wild rice and lentils, breaking up any large clumps. Add 1/2 cup of Citrus Mustard Dressing and salt, pepper, and seasoning. Toss to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, toss broccoli slaw with remaining dressing. Place 1/4 cup of broccoli slaw on each of four plates.
  4. Top each portion of broccoli slaw with 1/2 cup of lentil and wild rice mixture.
  5. Add bunches of mâche around the edge of the plates. Sprinkle each plate generously with raisins and sunflower seeds and serve.
Variation: Tossed Lentil and Wild Rice Salad: Follow steps 1 and 2 as written. Add broccoli slaw to the mixture and toss to combine. This mixture may be chilled for several hours before serving. Immediately before serving, add raisins, sunflower seeds, and remaining dressing. Add mâche, toss gently, and serve.

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