Mothers Day Gatherings With The Mediterranean Lentil Summer Salad

This was a smashing hit this weekend at our Mother’s Day gathering (as evidenced by the lack of salad that made its way home to me) and it’s about time for another recipe!
  • Have you tried lentils before? They are one of my favourite plant-based ways to pack protein and fibre into my diet. When prepared properly they are easily digested, simple to make and we always have organic bags of them stocked in our cold cellar ready to cook up in a pinch. So whether you are looking for a way to dip a spoon into these legumes or are on the hunt for the ultimate entertaining salad for summer BBQ’s, this dish is your holistic fix!
   But first, a little taste of Mother’s Day…
oh she glows
 
We spent a “heartfelt” Mother’s Day bonding for bunch with these golden chia bagels from the “Oh She Glows” cookbook with dollops of homemade strawberry jam.
  • I made the jam using frozen organic strawberries which are more cost-effective and last longer than the fresh ones. When flash frozen, they maintain the same nutrient value they had fresh, though warming them as you do with this recipe, will unfortunately destroy most of its nutrients anyways.
  • In the bagels, I recommend using maple syrup as opposed to honey as it is more heat-resistant. These bagels are cooked at a very low temperature which is optimal and my mother, and a fellow coworker I shared them with, loved them! It was a good thing for extra ingredients as I maaay have spent Saturday night whipping up another batch after eating the first one straight out of the oven… oops!
 Though I wasn’t able to attend our Mother’s Day gathering this year, we packed up this Mediterranean salad for everyone to enjoy. We are so spoiled as our families get togethers are ripe with fresh veggie platters (much of which is supplied via my grandparent’s garden) with homemade dips & hummus and feature healthy dinners always tailored to our dairy-free, gluten-free needs! But this salad offers the perfect holistic life hack if you find yourself in a situation where it is the only healthy dish on the menu as the high protein content, fibre and healthy fats make this a light but hearty salad so that you can fill up with lentils and take smaller samplings of the rest of the food and/or desserts.
entertaining
The Mediterranean Lentil Summer Salad
Light, effortless and wholesome, this is the perfect entertaining salad for all of your summer gatherings!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked red or green lentils (soaked overnight)
  • 1-1/2 cups quartered grape tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled and quartered cucumber
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper (organic as it is part of the dirty dozen)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • ½ cup pitted olives (black or green. I go based on which organic ones I can find and pit them myself)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves or cilantro
  • Optional but reccommended; 1-2 Avocados!

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey (raw, unpasteurized, unprocessed)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Rinse and cook the soaked lentils as instructed on the package and allow to cool (This can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge).
  • Combine all salad ingredients (except avos) in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and gently mix into the salad. Add the avocado, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavours to come together. We prepared this dish the night before for an easy morning.
The Switch Ups:
To take you through the remaining few days of our seven days of salads challenge, there are lots of tasty things you can do to revamp this dish!
  • Make wraps with lettuce wraps, raw wraps or rice wraps and include avocado, sprouts, a little mustard or hummus or whatever other wholesome toppings you might enjoy.
  • Use it as a topping for a big, green salad
  • Stuff roasted red peppers, Portobello mushroom caps or squash
  • create a rustic “salsa” type of dip for brown rice or nut and seed crackers
Whether entertaining your family or an entire crowd, this simple, wholesome and yummy salad is your new quick fix go-to and  the perfect way to conclude our final days of the seven days of salads challenge!
To a deliciously plant powered weekend,
Suzanne Eden

The Rocky Road & This Weeks Seven Days Of Salads Challenge!

I’ve got a challenge for you this week!

It is so simple and a brilliant reboot for our health. I did it quietly for myself this past week (minus a pit stop… or two, for some dairy free gelato) and then a funny thing happened…

gelato

The ACTIVEist

Friday found my friend and I biking down to the beach for the first bike of the season which, in itself, should have been a warning sign for trouble and what an adventure it was! It started with the realization that we were biking on enTIREly flat tires for half of the journey… On the plus side, it turns out we’re not quite as out of shape as we had been thinking! But allow me to clarify that when I say flat, my back wheels looked something like a burnt pancake being steamed rolled against the tarmac.

Now loving a challenge and being slightly stubborn at times, I was determined to ride that flattened pancake all the way back up the two gigantic hills to the gas station to pump them up.  I carried nothing except my debit card but luckily knew the gas attendant who graciously offered up 50 cents to my disgruntled appearance and consequently chuckled when I relayed my story to him and a fellow customer. Now whether he was handing me the money out of the kindness of his heart or to get me out of there as quick as possible, is to be determined, but he hadn’t gotten rid of me yet! As we pumped the tires the air nozzle  slipped its way into the depths of the wheel and I was back in to grab a wrench and fish it back out again.

With a wrench in hand and grease stained limbs, my friend and I were bound to go a little (coco)nutty and rehydrated and replenished our electrolytes with some refreshing Thirsty Buddha coconut water 🙂

thirsty buddha

 But it was here at the gas station as we regained our breath and gulped down our waters, that we happened upon the conversation that elicited this week’s challenge. As it turns out, this friend, who happens to live 5 houses down and has a birthday six days apart from mine, was on the same wavelength and ate what I ate this week and was telling me all about how fantastic she felt. She said all of her bloating went away, her digestion was great, her cravings disappeared, she felt light and was running on an abundance of energy! I was thrilled and had personally experienced this as well and had to share with you all! The challenge? To eat nothing but salads for seven days! That’s it, that’s all.

The Seven Days Of Salads Challenge

The contender: YOU

The Challenge: to eat nothing but wholesome salads for 1 week!

The details:

  • Before you classify nacho salads and chocolate (chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree, that makes it a plant; chocolate is salad.) not so fast! The more wholesome, the more benefits you will feel, and that’s the whole point! So commit yourself to the healthiest salads you can possibly construct! Here are some tips:

beet salad

Variety: mix it up!

  • Experiment with different greens and salad mixes. Try lentil salads, add chicken and avocado and try that weird-looking veggie you’ve passed for weeks in the supermarket. Keep it bright and colourful for a full spectrum of nutrients and get playful!

Dress it up

  • Would you like some salad with that dressing? Don’t go heavy-handed on the dressings, keep them light and make your own. Store bought dressings are less than ideal and often contain dairy and soy and sugar galore. My super simple go-tos?
    • Olive oil, sea salt and garlic powder (optional)
    • Apple cider vinegar, stone ground mustard and a tiny sprinkle of avocado oil
    • Balsamic? I am asked about this one all the time. My quick answer; when it comes to vinegar I prefer to stick with alkalinizing apple cider but I do use balsamic here and there.

Salad for breakfast?

  • YES! Greens with some strawberries and blueberries make great breakfast salads but green smoothies constitute a salad too. Spinach, cucumber, crisp celery and romaine are all my favourites to add to smoothies to hide the green taste (unless, like myself, you love that taste!) while getting lots of nutrition packed in your blender.

Organic

  • Go organic as much as possible for increased detoxification and the most optimal nutrition! At the very least, purchase the dirty bakers dozen organic or peel your vegetables.

Here is one of my favourite salads (as pictured above) that is already in a post for you: https://lifeofeden.com/2013/10/01/liver-detox-salad/  With grapefruit juice and fresh apple, I love this one for breakfast after allowing it to soak in the fridge overnight and the apple cider vinegar helps to boost digestion for the remainder of the day!

Kick starting our seven days of salads!

Suzanne Eden