Superfood Salad: Sprouted Lentils with Arugula and Summer Veggies
This is our sixth summer superfood salad recipe, part of a series we will be featuring all summer long. Check out last week’s recipe for Seasonal Summer Tabbouleh and stay tuned every Tuesday for more recipes to help you make the best of summer’s fresh bounty and YogaEarth’s newest line of organic superfoods!
Salads are a perfect summertime meal but you can only eat so many bounty bowls of leafy greens before you’re taste buds start begging for change. In my house it’s always a challenge to keep the salads interesting, since they are a staple of almost every meal. That’s where versatile grains and legumes come in handy. Adding them to green salads not only adds flavor and texture, it adds substance, nutrients and protein to the meal without to much weight – I know for me keeping the meal light on hot days is a high priority.
To make it easy I start the week by preparing a big batch of a few of my favorites, including lentils and quinoa and then add them to whatever fresh veggies and fruits I have on hand. When using lentils it’s definitely worth the extra step to sprout them. Sprouting not only results in a delicious, crunchy and raw food, it adds missing amino acids to the legume, resulting in a complete protein.
To sprout them, rinse lentils in cool water and place in a large mason jar. Fill the jar with enough water to cover the lentils with at least 1-inch of water above them. Cover the lid of the jar with a cheesecloth and let sit for 8-12 hours. Drain and then rinse again with cool water. Turn the jar upside down in a mixing bowl, leaning it to one side so any remaining water can drain through the cheesecloth and air can circulate through the jar. Let sit for another 8-12 hours and rinse again. After this second rinsing process you should begin to see sprouts. If not, let sit for a few more hours until the lentils have sprouted. Rinse one final time and they are ready to use. You may chose to eat the sprouted lentils as is (they will be a bit crunchy but very delicious) or steam them for 2-3 minutes to soften.
The process of sprouting is a fun one because you get to watch Mother Nature at work as the seemingly lifeless seeds transform into live, growing plants. Sprouting also adds a host of amazing beneficial enzymes to the food, which are powerful digestive aids and important to maintaining gut flora and a healthy digestive tract!
This recipe is so appetizing, both to the palate and the eyes and really brings out the beautiful bounty of summer flavors. Using raw cashews to create a creamy vinaigrette eliminates the need for dairy or oil in the recipe and adds a delicious, nutty-sweetness to the dish. Enjoy this dish as a complete meal that’s light, delicious and easy to make and pack leftovers with you for a nourishing lunch!
Lentil, Arugula and Summer Veggies with Creamy Cashew Vinaigrette
▪ 2 cups sprouted green lentils (you may also use cooked if desired)
▪ 3 cups baby arugula
▪ 1 fennel bulb, sliced as thinly as possible
▪ 1 medium zucchini, diced
▪ 1/2 cup diced roasted red bell pepper
▪ 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
▪ ¼ cup raw cashews
▪ 3 Tbsp water
▪ 2 garlic cloves
▪ 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
▪ 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
▪ 1 tsp raw honey
▪ Salt and pepper to taste
Toss the lentils with the arugula, fennel, zucchini, bell pepper and tomatoes in a large salad bowl.
In a Cuisineart or standing blender combine the cashews, water, balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, adding more water if necessary.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Enjoy immediately!