Quinoa & Lentil Salad with Basil Oil

At my place of work–Mother Earth’s Storehouse, we now carry in our bulk department different types of oils and vinegars. I have been experimenting with these condiments to see how they work in various recipes. Because of the infused flavors, you can use less ingredients. I’ve discovered that they are another timesaver. You can still have great flavors with fewer ingredients. Keepin’ it simple! The price of quinoa is going down, so I am once again inspired to use this nutritious seed in my recipes. Enjoy!

Ingredients

You will first need to cook the quinoa and lentils separately:

1 cup uncooked quinoa—rinsed and drained
1 vegetable bouillon cube (or 1 tsp. salt)– I like to use “Rapunzel” brand bouillon with herbs
2 cups water

Put water and bouillon into a medium size pot. Bring to a boil. Add quinoa. Cover and return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cook until quinoa is tender (20-25 minutes). Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes, then put into a mixing bowl. Set aside.

½ cup dry (small) brown or French lentils—rinsed and drained
1 cup water
¼ vegetable bouillon cube
[or 1 cup vegetable broth]

In a medium size pot add lentils and broth (or water with bouillon). Cook on medium-high heat for about 25 minutes or until lentils are tender but not overly done: al dente, not mushy. Add a little more water if needed, but just a little at a time. Make sure lentils are cooked and water is evaporated. When cooled, add to quinoa.

1 ½ tbs. basil olive oil (available in our bulk section at Mother Earth’s)
1-2 tsp. fresh minced or finely chopped garlic
1 cup chopped green beans
1-2 tsp. lemon balsamic vinegar (available in our bulk section)
2 tbs. nutritional yeast
¼ tsp. black pepper

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté briefly. Add green beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Add green beans, nutritional yeast, vinegar and black pepper to the quinoa/lentil mixture and toss together until well combined. Makes about 5 cups. Serve warm at room temperature.

Health Benefits of Quinoa

Although referred to as a grain, it is actually a seed from a vegetable related to Swiss chard, spinach and beets.

  1. High quality protein with the nine essential amino acids, the protein balance is similar to milk. At 16.2 to 20 percent protein, it has is more protein than rice (7.5 percent), millet (9.9 percent) or wheat (14 percent).
  2. Great source of riboflavin. Riboflavin has been shown to help reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine sufferers by improving the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells.
  3. Inca warriors had more stamina and quicker recovery time by eating these quinoa seeds, making it a truly ancient powerfood.
  4. Antiseptic. The saponins from quinoa are used to promote healing of skin injuries in South America.
  5. Only 172 calories per 1/4 cup dry (24 of the calories from protein and only 12 from sugars, the rest are complex carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fats). Not fattening!
  6. Gluten-free. Since it is not not related to wheat, or even a grain, it is gluten-free.
  7. Alkaline-forming. Although it is not strongly alkaline-forming, it is comparable to wild rice, amaranth, and sprouted grains.
  8. Smart Carb: It is a complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar.

Lentil Health Benefits

  • Protein: Lentils are rich in protein, which is well known to the vegetarian and vegan communities. In fact, a 1 cup serving of lentils provides nearly 40% of your daily recommended value of protein, and you will only be getting 230 calories for that entire cup!
  • Iron: Often another big problem for vegetarians and vegans is getting enough iron in their diets. Lentils provide iron, without the fat and cholesterol associated with red meat. Women, especially pregnant women, and children should be especially careful to get adequate amounts of iron as their needs are greater.
  • Fiber: Lentils are another great vegetable source of fiber, and their high fiber content helps you to feel full with less food. High fiber legumes like lentils are especially useful for those trying to stabilize blood sugar levels, as your metabolism burns them very slowly over time. The fiber is also effective in lowering blood cholesterol.
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