Meatless Monday: Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini

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We’re dog sitting our friend’s golden retriever, Bailey, and he couldn’t be a better house guest. He’s polite, doesn’t beg, and most importantly, deals with my bossy bulldog. I would pet Bailey and here comes Lily to hip check him out of the way. Bailey would grab a stick to chew on in the backyard and Lily would want over to him, look at the stick, and Bailey would get up and walk away from the stick, leaving it for Lily. Bailey would start to eat his dinner, feel Lily’s eyes on him, and leave her the last few kibbles.

There isn’t room, however, for our house guest in my kitchen. Yesterday I made my first 2 recipes for my new cookbook (!!) and leaping over dogs was quite the challenge. Dogs have that uncanny ability to lay in the absolute worst place at all times.

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As Lily stared intensely at the food, willing it to leap from the counter and into her mouth, Bailey just laid around taking in his surroundings. When it was time to take photos of the food, Lily would show Bailey the ropes, laying just inches from me…drooling. Food photography has got to be very confusing for dogs. I promise I wasn’t trying to tease you guys!

It was actually for Bailey’s owners that I made this salad for. We were invited over last weekend for a cookout and after perusing my archives, I decided to try this one out. I had every ingredient on hand and tahini is an ingredient that doesn’t get enough love in my kitchen. Tahini is such a unique flavor and it can’t go in just anything. It’s a shame since it’s packed with wholesome nutrition.

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I loved that this salad could be prepped ahead of time and could be served cold or at room temperature. That right there makes it a great cookout option in and of itself. Add to that the health benefits of the unsaturated fats from the olive oil and tahini, the abundant fiber (11.1 grams per serving!), and the vegetarian protein from the beans and legumes…I was in love from the start. As a dietitian, I boast the benefits of legumes all the time but find them tricky to incorporate into meals. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to have found this salad.

I was a bit skeptical how the guys would take to this recipe, but they went back for seconds. That’s proof enough for me that this one is great!

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Lentil and Chickpea Salad with Feta and Tahini adapted from April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Pig and Smitten Kitchen

Lentils
1 cup dried green lentils, picked and rinsed over
2 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
1 Tbsp olive oil

Dressing and salad
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp tahini
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 cup (1 oz) feta, crumbled

Directions:

Put the lentils, garlic, and olive oil in a small pot, along with 2 cups cold water, and set it over medium heat. Let the water come to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and cook the lentils (uncovered) at a very gentle simmer until they are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool, and discard the garlic.

Mix together the coriander,  cumin, garlic, salt, tahini, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and 2 tablespoons water. Stir well, then taste. Add more lemon if desired.

Place onion slices in a medium bowl and break them up with your fingers and add remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and the parsley; toss well. Add lentils and chickpeas. Pour in the tahini dressing and toss well; stir in feta.

Yield: ~5 cups (7 servings; 3/4 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 242 calories; 11.9 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 322 mg. sodium; 24.7 g. carbohydrate; 11.1 g. fiber; 11.0 g. protein; 1.2 g. sugar

Result: The rich, creamy tahini makes this salad. It isn’t *pretty* necessarily, but it tastes fantastic. This is the perfect accompaniment to a summer barbecue spread or sandwich and salad meal. It could also make a meal with a crusty slice of bread. The fat in this recipe is unsaturated (with the exception of the fat from the feta which is minimal) and the 11.1 grams of fiber per serving is quite impressive…filling, too!

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Another week is here…glad it’s only 4 days :-D

Be well,

sig4

Comments

  1. Joy says

    I just made this this morning so that I could have lunch to take with me to work. I made a double batch. I’m not a huge fan of tahini but I trust your good taste so I tried it. I must say, it’s delicious. We will be eating this for the next few days and loving that we have something healthy in the fridge. I did add green olives with roasted peppers because it seems like a natural fit and I love olives in pretty much everything. I think I’m going to have it tonight over baby spinach so I can boost my intake of greens. Thanks for posting such a wonderful vegetarian recipe!

    • Nicole, RD says

      Yum! I love the idea of green olives in this. I’m with you…I love them on everything, especially pizza! I’m glad you loved it, Joy! :)

  2. says

    Congratulations on your new cookbook!! That’s really inspiring to hear that you made 2 recipes in one day. And I’m sure they were both incredibly successful AND healthy!

  3. Emilie says

    Always looking for a new lentil recipe! Sounds delish. And I love salads like this you can add veggies of your liking to. Thank you!

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