Quick and Nutritious Sprouted Lentil Salad
December 18, 2009

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Hello, bloggies.

This week, you’ve all shown an incredible response to the news of my special January 2010 cleanse program. I’m glad that you’re enthusiastic, and can’t wait to start!

This said, though, I’m not typically a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’m of the mind that I should live each day to my best potential, and hold myself to a high standard all year round, and putting emphasis on January 1st tends to distract me from that way of being. So this year—as always—I don’t have any big resolutions to share with you all.

I do have some small ones, though: odds and ends I’ve been meaning to take care of. I need to clean my office more regularly. I should get better at my own budgeting and accounting. I should really stop taking cabs at night (though if it continues to hover at sixteen degrees in NYC, cabs may stick around for a bit). And at the top of the list? I’m going to play with sprouting.

I really like sprouts. I don’t L-O-V-E them, the way some raw foodists L-O-V-E them. They’re good, and they’ve very healthy, and I eat them whenever I can, but I also don’t bow down and worship at the sprout altar. I do, however, feel really lame when I purchase them: even if I’m purchasing them from someone whom I like to support, like my buddy Stewart, who works at the Green Market in Union Square and grows the world’s freshest sunflower sprouts, I know that I could have saved some money and packaging. It’s really easy to sprout at home, and whenever I do it, I’m annoyed at myself for not doing it more often.

So here’s something to expect from Choosing Raw in 2010: some sprouting 101 posts. In the meantime, I like to believe that my blog accommodates readers who, like me, don’t always have time for DIY ventures, but who still might crave sprouts spontaneously every now and again. And when these moments occur on short notice, there are always these:

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That’s right. Boxed sprouts from The Sproutman. These may not be homemade, but they’re usually quite fresh (if you’re sure to purchase them from a vendor you trust, and check the expiration date carefully), quite tasty, and, best of all, quite easy to work with! I enjoy the clover and alfalfa sprouts, the adzuki bean sprouts, and the lentil sprouts best. You can find the brand at most health food stores nowadays, and even at some chain supermarkets.

Remember French lentil salad? It’s a warm, delicious treat, usually made with lentilles de Puy (small, green, French lentils), carrot, onion, celery, and fennel. Sometimes it contains goat cheese or bacon ( but we like to pretend those times don’t happen). The salad is usually dressed with a dijon vinaigrette. I often enjoy it in the traditional form: I eat legumes sprouted AND cooked, and find that cooking them sometimes enhances digestion (for me). But I also enjoy them sprouted, and this week, I was in the mood to put a fresh, lemony raw twist on the classic lentil dish.

With that, my lentil salad was born. The base, of course, is a bed of sprouted lentils. To it, I added carrots, celery, a bit of sunflower sprouts, and a creamy, lemony dressing. I finished it with a clover sprout garnish.

If you use the boxed lentils, this dish should take about ten minutes to make. It’s a great lunch all on its own—fast, filling, and rich in iron and protein. For dinner, it would be great with a tasty bowl of raw soup. I didn’t have parsley on hand, but it occurred to me that parsley would make a fine garnish or chopped addition to the salad.

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Lentil Sprout Salad (serves 2-4)

For the salad:

1 cup lentils

1 cup carrots, chopped or grated finely

1 cup celery, diced finely

½ cup sunflower sprouts

½ cup clover sprouts

For the dressing:

1 zucchini, chopped

½ cup lemon juice

¼ cup nutritional yeast

3 tbsp agave syrup or 1 packet stevia

3 tbsp nama shoyu or tamari

3 tbsp ground flax seed

¼ cup water

½ tsp coriander

Blend all dressing ingredients on high till smooth and creamy. Mix salad ingredients, divide into four bowls, and top with the dressing as desired.

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The star of this meal is, in many ways, the lemony dressing. I love that it isn’t too high in oil; instead, I use zucchini as a base and some ground flax as a thickener. The resulting salad is slightly miscombined, for all of you who follow food combining, since flax is a nut/seed and legumes typically combine as starches or proteins. But the small bit of flax in this dressing, I’ve found, doesn’t give me any trouble when I combine it with starches or proteins at all.

I hope you get to enjoy this fast and nourishing bowl sometime soon. With the holidays in full swing and temperatures dropping, it’s a good time of year for quick and nutritious meals. Enjoy!

xo

Categories: Small Plates, Raw, Salads

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    27 Comments
  1. Hi! I’m curious about nutritional yeast… Is it actually raw? How does it go for calories and nutrients? I don’t like eating heavily processed and refined foods, and I’ve heard that this is often used as a cheese substitute – My husband adores cheese and misses it since we turned vegan, so I’ve been thinking of trying it out. Any info would be greatly appreciated!

  2. I am the same way about resolutions. Living with a chronic, progressive disease I tend to think every action has the potential to add to my cure or my demise. I work hard each day at doing and being better. Rock on!

  3. Like you, I am not a big fan of new year’s resolutions….I think each day we have a chance to re-create ourselves and start something new, when we are ready to make changes, not when a calendar year says to do so.

    But aside from that, I am so excited you are doing more on sprouting in the New Year. I have begun sprouting myself this past year, and underestimated it a little by thinking I can sprout anything. So after I mastered mung beans, I moved onto black beans (big mistake, almost killed my husband….no just kidding, but it wasn’t pleasant)

    So I really look forward to more info about the sprouting 101, as I really want to move more and more into sprouting, but want to know how to get the most benefits, without any harm.

    Happy Holidays to you Gena 🙂

  4. That dressing seems delicious! Sprouted legumes though are not really a love of mine, alfalfa and other sprouted seeds are great but legumes I find to bitter and not really agreeing with my system. Can I be so bold as to ask for a post on your take on legumes, sprouted and cooked? (or have you already one that I´ve missed?)

  5. Gena, you know how much I love your recipes, and the zuke dressing is a real corker; thank you! Zucchini is so amazing in the raw diet, much more so than in the standard. I make fantastic breads and crackers just from dehydrated blended and flavoured zucchini, for eg.

    Hope you’re well X

  6. I’ve dabbled in sprouting too, and while it’s a cool feeling to be able to produce food in your own kitchen, I have to admit that the time it took me to sprout the darn things (like 5 days to sprout broccoli seeds) was a bit off-putting. And the yield wasn’t too high either. 🙁

    So for now, I’m sticking with buying them. (I should be doing that more often though – don’t eat enough sprouts). I guess I either need practice or just keep paying the professional sprout guys! 🙂

  7. Great post Gena! I’m always looking forward to your recipes because they just never let me down, I love ’em! And this one especially, wow!

    But there’s one thing I’ve been wondering. Every now and then this nutritional yeast comes up in your recipes. I do know that it has high levels of B12 and protein but I’d like to know if it’s raw.

    Hope you have a great day!

  8. that looks glorious! especially love how you used the zucchini as a thickener 😀
    buying sprouts is the way to go…making them creeps me out too much
    have a wonderful night!

  9. Lentils, sprouting, not things that I normally do/eat. Thanks for the reminders!

    The dressing…love how it’s not loaded up in oil b/c on such delicate little things like sprouts, lentils, etc the oil can just kinda create a slick. And your dressing, totally avoids that. Cool!

    And yes on my post, thank goodness for kale. However, I have like 2 more nights’ worth and then….I am out. And so are the groc stores! Hmm…….

  10. Stewart is the nicest guy in the Greenmarket. Period. And he is still out there in this weather. Saint.

    I’m very excited about your lentil creation! Maybe you should bring a bowl to Stewart…and then make him put the sprouts on top himself, haha. 😉