Mexican Lentil Salad

Let's get something straight - - - I'm not a cook.

However much I would love to be an amazing cook or chef, I'm nowhere near that point. I do pretty well with home cooked, southern dishes, but we haven't eaten those foods ever since Steven developed food allergies (which are gone now thanks to diatomaceous earth and a plant based diet).

My style of cooking is more the style of throw-a-bunch-of-different-yummy-things-in-a-bowl-and-top-with-a-creamy-liquid. Basically, Chipotle-style. Although my style isn't always Mexican. Just most of the time. Thank you, Texas!

Ever since we adopted a plant based diet, I've struggled with what to eat. I am not one to sit down and eat a plateful of veggies. No sir. But! Chop those veggies, mix them together with a nice, creamy dressing, and I'm game. I believe this stems from a childhood where I wasn't forced to eat any veggies I didn't like. Don't worry, I'm thankful for that. Now, as an adult, I'm free to experiment. Taste buds change, so even if I didn't like avocado last year, I'm still going to try it again this year.

Back to struggling with the what to eat thing.

This happened last night, as per usual, but I was having a rough day and needed a great dinner. I wasn't digging through Pinterest too long when I came across a brilliant idea! Detox Salad Bowls.

Yeah, buddy!

Not only do I love the salad bowl idea (we already went over that), but I am currently doing a full body cleanse. What better way to support my cleanse than by consuming a detox salad? Bam. Dinner is served.

There are many different versions of detox salads and this one is mine. I used the majority of veggies we had in the fridge - even stole some from the bunny food fridge, shhhhh don't tell!

As situation would have it, I'm tired of rice. Isn't that the first hurdle new plant based lifestylers (is that a word?) have to overcome - beans & rice, beans & rice? Thankfully, we have an entire 5 gallon bucket in the basement that's storing green lentils (thank you, food storage!). I've attempted to cook lentils once before and it did not end well. Blech. This time turned out much better.

I don't like eating raw bell pepper (too spicy and weird), so I pan roasted them, along with the corn, until it all had a nice char.

And the last main ingredient is Salsa Verde (aka Tomatillo Salsa). I had gotten a jar of this amazing green stuff at our local farm stand (they can a bunch of different foods, which is amazing!) and Steven and I went through it in a few days. It cost $8.00 a pint - pricey - so I decided to make my own. I'll keep playing with the flavors to make it more of what we like, but for now I jumped off this recipe here.

**Note: I do not include measurements in this recipe because I have no idea how big of a salad your body requires to be full. Plus, you are probably going to switch out some veggies for what you prefer. I use a specific bowl when making my salads because it's the perfect measurement for me to be full, but not stuffed. I like to add in my favorites first (cabbage, cilantro, protein, etc), then I add in the rest and finish with lettuce. Lettuce is not filling for me, but the other ingredients are so they go first. Just do your thang :)

Ingredients

  • green lentils

  • fresh garlic cloves (3 per cup of lentils)

  • fresh cilantro

  • lime juice or essential oil, to taste

  • green cabbage

  • romaine lettuce

  • corn

  • yellow & red bell peppers

  • salsa verde (or dressing of choice)

** The amazing thing about this salad is you can use any ingredients you want! I've made a few uh-ohs in the past experimenting with veggies (crap, that olive tasted nasty with that dressing), but mostly anything works. **

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing. Whichever dressing you choose to make, make it first so it can cool in the fridge while you prepare the meal.

  2. Cook the lentils. For every 1 cup of dried lentils you'll need 2 cups of water. 1:2 ratio. Rinse the lentils real well under cool water - make sure the water runs clear. Add lentils to saucepan with water. Peel the garlic and roughly chop, add to lentil water. Bring lentils to a boil, then reduce heat to Low for 20-30 minutes (mine took 30). Once the lentils are cooked, remove the garlic. Chop some fresh cilantro and add to lentils. Add lime juice or essential oil to taste (I do 7 drops EO per 1 cup dried lentils). Salt and pepper to taste (do not add salt until after the lentils are cooked or else they will be hard).

  3. Prep the veggies. While the lentils are cooking, chop up the cabbage, lettuce, and bell peppers.

  4. Roast the veggies. To a non-stick frying pan (I like carbon steel), add olive oil to lightly coat the pan. Heat the pan on medium heat until hot. Add the bell peppers and corn to the pan and "roast", stirring occasionally, until slightly charred and soft. When done, drain and cool.

  5. Assemble! Add all the ingredients you've prepped to a bowl and top with your preferred dressing. Enjoy!

I ate my salad with a side of organic chips, but homemade bread would go great too!