Healthy Lunch Choice….Red Rice and Lentil Salad

Red Rice and Lentil Salad

Red Rice and Lentil Salad

Hello again!  Sorry for the delay in posts this week. School is really busy these days and I somehow am not getting everything done that I would like. I will get better again soon!  

I take my lunch to school every day, so I am always trying to think of new things to make.  Something that is nutritious, saves well, transports easily, and I won't get tired of it after only one serving.  I saw a recipe in my go-to book, The Longevity Kitchen by Rebecca Katz, for a lentil and quinoa salad. (If you notice I only use a couple of cookbooks it is because I only brought a couple with me to Austin. The rest of my collection is in my mom's garage with all the rest of my belongings!) I had some red rice (a variety of whole grain rice) in my pantry and thought I would make a spin on her dish, especially since I am not a huge quinoa fan.   

I found this information on the nutrient difference in red and brown rice on the website The Health Watcher. 

"Red Rice: This rice has an antioxidant pigment called anthocyanins. This antioxidant is beneficial to reduce symptoms of inflammation, allergy relief, cancer prevention and weight loss management. Aside from that, red rice is packed with nutrients such as B-vitamins, iron, calcium and zinc. The B-vitamins are known to be essential to the body as it is present in all organ function and energy production. Calcium is needed for bone health, Iron for blood supply and Zinc for brain function.
Brown Rice: Brown rice is said to be rich in vitamins and minerals including B-vitamins and magnesium, manganese and selenium. The B-vitamins that is contained in brown rice have similar benefits to red rice. Manganese is good to promote regular metabolism while magnesium contribute to healthy bones and teeth. Selenium is a mineral that works like antioxidant, protecting the body from infections."

So brown or red rice, either would be a good choice for this salad.  Eating red rice is just adding more color and thus phytochemicals to your diet.  My experiment with this salad turned out great. It is delicious and satisfying.  Lentils add protein, cucumbers make it fresh, celery adds crunch, the greens add color and nutrition.  It is really filling.  My dad used to say he wanted to eat food that had some substance to it.  This salad fits the bill! I have eaten it three times all ready and it is still good. I hope you'll try it.  (By the way, in the recipe I say 2 handfuls of greens. I buy them in those huge tubs at the grocery or Costco so I just scoope some out. If you buy them in smaller bags,  it would prorbably be a whole bag, or just put as much as you like.  The more the better!)

On another note, here are a few pictures from Austin this weekend, as a follow up to the walk through South Austin post.  These bicycles are located all over town and can be rented.  I have seen these in Paris and Houston, both of which are scary places to ride bikes with all the traffic.  These are located right by a long bike and hike trail which is perfect! 

Going out for a walk is so much fun here.  This first picture was the beautiful day we had on Sunday.  There were also tons of ducks on the river, and there is one spot where you can easily feed the ducks and the couple of big swans that also live there.  The picture of the big field is such a great place.  Austin City Limits music festival as well as many other festivals are held there, but non-festival days it is a great place to let your dog run, fly a kite, play soccer, picnic, etc.  It is always full.  Also, one of the hiking trails takes you across the river on a bridge and this awesome band was playing.   I sat down on a bench and listened for while.  Slowed down my walk but how much fun is that?

That's the little tour for today….Here's your recipe!  Have a good week! 

Red Rice and Lentil Salad

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients (4 - 6 servings)

    Rice
    • 1 cup red rice (a whole grain variety), may use brown rice
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 cups of water
    Lentils
    • 1/2 cup brown or green lentils, washed and picked over
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • water to cover
    Dressing
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1 tsp lemon zest
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • big pinch of salt, fresh pepper
    Salad
    • Two huge handfuls of mixed greens (not salad greens), e.g. chard, spinach, kale
    • 4 green onions, white and half of green part, sliced
    • 2 celery stalks, sliced
    • 1 cup cucumber cubed (if English, no need to peel or seed. If not, remove big seeds and peel)
    • 1 bunch cilantro or parsley, chopped

    Instructions

    Rice

    Put all ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender. Fluff with a fork and let sit for 10 minutes.

    Lentils

    While rice is cooking, combine lentils, garlic clove, bay leaf, and salt in a small sauce pan. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender. If the water is not all absorbed, drain the lentils. Set aside to briefly cool until the rice is ready.

    Dressing

    Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk well to combine.

    Salad

    Put the cucumbers, celery, green onions, and cilantro/parsley in the bottom of a large bowl. Put the greens on top. If the greens are in big pieces, use scissors and cut them into smaller pieces. Pour the lentils over the greens while they are still warm. Mix well with tongs, allowing the greens to wilt slightly. Add the rice, and toss again. Pour the dressing over the mixture, and toss it all well, covering all ingredients with the dressing. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or refrigerate as desired. The flavors will meld while it sits.

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