Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.
~ Winston Churchill
Holla folks! Today I’ve got a snappy little meal in one to share with you as I jaunt off for another summer adventure. This time I’ll combine a little work & a little play, but I am off to the islands until Sunday and I couldn’t be more up for it! If you’ve followed me for a while, then you may already know about my passion project, and the project that brought on this blog and all that comes with it (me and maybe, for you my dear friends who read these posts – you amaze me and I could not appreciate you more).
Not So Fast is going to find its legs imminently, as we are set to launch our website like, yesterday, along with our plans to get more good food into the hands and bellies of those who need it most. We’ve been doing the food part from the beginning, but now we hope to spread that love wider than we ever thought possible, and make it easy for anyone (even you!) to give back just by going with a little less.
How awesome is that?! Well, I for one, am excited beyond measure and all the other feelings that come with it. And yes, you bet, those feelings include hope, terror, exhaustion, fulfillment, pride for my team & their beautiful commitment to this cause, and most of all enormous sprawling gratitude for being in the fortunate position to work on a project like this. Grateful doesn’t even begin to describe it.
So watch for it, it’s coming. And not in a month, but really really soooooooon! (I hope you will like it as much as I do).
Today’s recipe is another ditty inspired by the ever awesome Moosewood Collective, and one look at this Rice & Herb Salad had me ready to re-commit to rice and never look back. Rice is simple, grounding, and in its whole form, wonderfully filling and nutritious. It’s not available locally in many parts of the world (including here in BC), but it is relatively inexpensive and forms a great foundation for healthy, alkaline & macrobiotic-inspired foods. Here I added French lentils, almonds & summer green beans to increase the protein & fiber and also to make this a complete meal for those on the go who want it all. It’s yummy if I do say so myself and the dressing is super snappy & tasty. I highly recommend this salad as it keeps well and nourishes without tummy upset or worry ~just add you and your smiling face!
Less white & refined grains means more whole grain and natural fiber & roughage. Less wheat-based main dish ideas means more gluten-free & easily digestible options. Fewer hot foods in summer means your body temp can stay tempered, so burning up internally can be left for just your heart!
More whole grain, high fiber goodness means more foods just as nature intended. More plant-based legumes & green summer veggies means more high level energy that only comes straight from the sun. More one dish meals means easier clean up & less hassle, so getting back outside to the summer doesn’t mean leaving a mess behind.
Herbed Brown Rice & French Lentil Salad:
~ Adapted from the Moosewood Collective Cooking for Health
- (1) cup dry french lentils, soaked in water to cover for 12-24 hours
- (1/2) cup slivered almonds, toasted
- (1.5) cups uncooked long grain brown rice
- (2) tsp olive oil
- (2.5) cups water
- (1/2) tsp salt
- (1/4) cup olive oil
- (2) tbsp red wine vinegar (can also use apple cider vinegar)
- (2) tbsp fresh lemon juice
- (1.5) tsp Dijon mustard
- (1/4) tsp salt
- ground black pepper to taste
The Veggies & the Garnishes:
- (1/2) pound fresh green beans, washed, trimmed, and cut in thirds (about 2 cups, trimmed)
- (4) scallions, cleaned and minced
- (3/4) cup fresh parsley, minced
- (1/2) cup fresh basil, minced
- (1) cup pitted black or green olives (optional)
- thinly sliced red onion
- feta cheese to crumble on top
Start by pre-soaking the lentils – this is ideally done the night before you want to cook, or if you want to make this in the late afternoon, you can soak the lentils early in the day. Put up a steamer to boil on the stove with plenty of water, enough for 25-30 minutes of light boiling. Rinse the soaked lentils and add them to the steamer. Steam them for 25-30 minutes until soft, but still firm and brown. Once done, remove to a bowl and set aside in a bowl to cool.
I often just cook up a batch of these and keep them in the fridge until I am inspired to use them. I just cook them & toss them in a little olive oil & salt to trap the flavor. Folks have asked why I steam them vs. boiling them, and the only thing I can say is this was a trick I learned forever ago, and cooking (only the French kind) lentils this way produces a firmer texture without them turning to mush. Perfect for salads and I never cook them any other way if I plan to eat them cold.
In a separate pot, combine the rice & the oil and heat the mixture on medium high, stirring for about 2-3 minutes. Add the water & salt and bring to a boil with the lid on. Once boiling, turn the heat down and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until all of the water has been well absorbed.
While the rice cooks, whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside. Wash and trim the green beans and cut them into thirds. Blanch or steam the beans until bright green and tender, no longer than 4 minutes. One cooked, immediately remove the beans from the heat and transfer to an ice bath to cool for a few minutes. Drain and set aside. Toast the almonds either in a dry skillet for 5-6 minutes, or on a flat tray in a 350 degree oven until just brown. Set aside to cool.
When the rice is ready, transfer it all to a large bowl and toss thoroughly with the dressing. Set the rice & dressing aside to cool for 15 minutes ~ this will allow the hot rice to absorb the bright flavors of the dressing and infuse it with the life of this dish. Once the rice is cool, combine it with the lentils, almonds, green beans & all remaining ingredients. Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with pitted olives, red onion slices, and optional feta cheese. This dish will feed quite a few, so if you are looking for less, simply half the recipe!
This was at first a lot of steps, but it all happens quickly while the lentils & rice cook. All you need to do is plan ahead a little with the lentils. Of course, you could easily add canned chickpeas or any other favorite bean (I was considering using black beans too).
Either way this hearty salad wins for its fresh flavor and use of glorious and plentiful summer herbs & beans. It is well worth it to say the least, and I hope you’ll agree once you try it!
See you all on the flip side of Island time Lots of good ferry time & sunshine ahead! xx
Yours in Less,