The past week has not been a winner as far as healthy eating goes: There was the weekly-post-volleyball-game-bar-food meal, the Japanese-takeout-and-ice-cream-at-Ravinia meal, the we-just-did-soulcycle-and-are-too-tired-to-cook-so-lets-order-pizza meal, the family-brunch-to-celebrate-my-new-nephew-and-everyone-brings-sweets meal, and a whole lot of other sweets and snacks in between. Even for me, who has a serious sweet tooth, this was overboard. So by last night, I was feeling the need for a serious detox. I needed fresh foods, vegetables, and protein, stat. Enter: this lentil and beet salad. My mom and sister have both made it, which is a take on one of the Trader Joe’s sample dishes, tons of times. I’ve always loved it, but being that I avoid cooking 99.9% of my life, I’ve managed to also avoid making it myself. (Technically, there’s no “cooking” involved in this dish, but you understand my point, I’m sure.) When my mom says a meal is “easy,” I can’t take it at face value because she is a whiz in the kitchen and invents new recipes for fun (WHAT?). But my sister, on the other hand, is pretty much in the same cooking-is-hard-and-overwhelming-and-tedious boat as I am, so I figured if even she endorses this, I could try it, too.
And, you guys, it seriously is so easy. It took me a tad longer than 10 minutes, but only because I forgot about the chickpeas (distraction is one of the biggest downfalls of my kitchen attempts); I had to text my mom and sister and ask if you’re supposed to rinse the lentils and beets (no to the lentils, yes to the beets—in cold water, to avoid staining your hands); and I realized I didn’t include enough cucumber or cheese for my liking the first time around (when in doubt, always add more cheese). But if you can manage to avoid my cooking pitfalls, this really will only take you about 10 minutes.
Most of these, aside from the lentils package, are estimations can you can adjust based on your own personal tastes.
- 1 package (17.6 oz) ready-to-eat lentils
- 3 ready-to-eat steamed and peeled beets (Note: I used 3—from Trader Joe’s 8 oz ready-to-eat package—but I’m not a huge beet fan and wanted it just as an accent. If you like or love beets, increase the amount accordingly.)
- Crumbled feta (I used almost all of a 6 oz container, but I LOVE cheese. So, do with that information what you’d like.)
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans
- 2-3 tablespoons Farmed Here Sweet Basil Vinaigrette (or any dressing you fancy). (You can get the Sweet Basil dressing at Whole Foods and most other grocery stores.)
- Place beets in a bowl of cold water to rinse some of the color and avoid staining your hands.
- Chop beets and cucumber (unpeeled, but without the seeded part in the middle) into small pieces.
- Combine lentils, beets, feta, cucumber, and beans (strained) in a bowl.
- Mix in the dressing.
- Eat. (The garbanzos and lentils make it a pretty hearty salad, but I paired it with sautéed brussels sprouts to make it an even more complete meal.)
- Relish in the fact that you made something that is healthy, and looks and sounds rather mature, but really requires next to no kitchen skills.
Serves: About 4-5 people, based on my very non-scientific analysis of my leftovers
Cooking for the Anti-Chef: Crockpot Quinoa Chili