Italian cuisine: Lentils Salad

Sep 15, 2018 29

This delicious salad celebrates Italy with its aroma and flavor. It is a perfect vegetarian dish that you can easily take to work or on a picnic. Lentils have a marvelous nutritional profile: whilst 30% of its energy comes from protein, the remainder is primarily a high-quality resistant starch, a carbohydrate which passes the length of the gastrointestinal tract and acts as dietary fiber. This type of starch is filling, protects against weight loss, reduces cholesterol, and increases fatty acid metabolism.

Lentils also provide folate, b-group vitamins and a wide variety of trace metals, in particular, iron.  Lentils belong to the legume family, which also includes peas, chickpeas, beans, soybeans and peanuts.  According to the Mamma Mia! Diet we should eat 3-4 portions of legumes a week (about 1 cup, 200 g of dried legumes). I just prepared this Lentils Salad while on holiday with my family in Montepulciano; in fact the picture was taken in our kitchen overlooking the stunning hills surrounding this beautiful town.

INSALATA DI LENTICCHIE (LENTILS SALAD)

Preparation time: 1 hour         Cooking time: 20 minutes         Servings: 4-6

INGREDIENTS
220 g (about 1 cup) dry green lentils
1 bay leaf
Dressing
3 garlic cloves (crushed)
3 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
Basil leaves or parsley (finely chopped) + some for garnishing
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Rinse the lentils under running water, and soak with plenty of water for 30 minutes.
2. Rinse and place in a pot with the bay leaf and plenty of water, bring to boil and cook covered on medium-low heat until they are crisp, about 18-20 minutes. A few minutes before they are done, add some salt. The right cooking time should be indicated on the packaging. Drain well and allow to cool under cold running water. Drain well to remove any excess water
3. In a small bowl mix all the ingredients for the dressing in the order listed above
4. Place the lentils in a large bowl.  Season with the dressing and toss well. Garnish with some basil leaves and serve at room temperature. You can store the leftovers (if there are any!) in a glass container overnight. It can be in your lunch box the next day!

 

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