Minty Lentil Pesto Salad

Whoever said necessity was the father of invention was a genius. I spent a good hour on Monday surfing through recipes using fresh mint, trying to decide what to do with the rest of my quickly fading bunch. Every recipe I came across looked wonderful, but would require me to go to the store. Being the lazy person that I am, I opted to nix the trip and make-do with what I had. Now, this can be dangerous. All of a sudden you’re tossing the rule book and throwing together ingredients that you wouldn’t usually pair. Sometimes this does not bode well for the taste-buds… but sometimes you stumble upon a new, exciting combination! Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised with the results of this experimentation session – so much so, that I decided to share the recipe below.

Salad

Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take a picture until I was just about to eat the last of the salad for lunch today. This presentation is not ideal, but at least it gives you some idea.

Minty Lentil Pesto Salad

For the pesto:

1 cup fresh mint leaves (at least)

1/2 cup chopped kale

1/2 cup walnuts

3 tablespoons olive oil

juice of one lime

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste (I used a good amount of salt)

For the salad:

1 cup dry lentils, cooked (but not too much – you don’t want mushy lentils here)

3 cups fresh spinach, chopped

2 medium carrots, grated

a good handful or two of grape tomatoes, quartered

3 tablespoons currants

For the making:

1. Rinse your lentils, then add to a pot with 2 cups water. Bring them to a boil, then let simmer for about 20 mins.

2. While the lentils are cooking, wash and towel dry the mint and kale. Add them to the food processor with the rest of the pesto ingredients, then whirl for 30 seconds, stopping to scrape the sides, and whirling again until completely combined.

3. Prepare salad ingredients in a large bowl, adding the pesto and lentils when finished. That’s all!

In the summer, I like my salads cold, so I would suggest refrigerating the finished product for a good 30 minutes before consuming. That’s the perfect amount of time to go do a little circuit training and work up a healthy appetite!

Aside from inventing salads, I haven’t accomplished much in the past week or so. It’s been difficult to focus at work with my big move on the horizon. I know I should be organizing my desk and preparing things for my successor, but it’s hard to find the motivation. I organized a Portuguese Speakers and Learners group, and then proceeded to cancel it after only one meeting. In fact, I’ve been canceling plans right and left. For some reason I’m feeling really pressed for time, and I’m stressing over things that are weeks and months away. I could use another couple days at the beach…

Just look at those clouds... sigh

Just look at those clouds… sigh

A hearty breakfast before a day of kayaking and SUPing in the ocean, yes please!

A hearty breakfast before a day of kayaking and SUPing, yes please!

Sand between my toes...

Walking on the beach cliffs, sand between my toes…

It's even lovely in the rain!

It’s even lovely in the rain!

And stormy days on the island are perfect for exploring

And stormy days on the island are perfect for exploring

Speaking of exploring...

Speaking of exploring…

I also went to my first music festival!

I went to my first music festival!

And enjoyed some fireworks from Morgan's Pier

And enjoyed some fireworks from Morgan’s Pier.

Tasty salads, beach vacations, music festivals, summer holidays… why must all good things come to an end?

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