A colorful & unique vegan salad that highlights the awesomeness of raw sprouted green lentils
Last week, I was investigating the Wendy’s Eating Husband’s food purchases on our credit card statement. The Wendy’s Eating Husband is the finance manager in our family, so I usually do not look at this stuff. My elevated HDL almost exploded in my brain.
Here’s a five day sample of what I saw…
|Jan 18||Pot Belly||$12.38|
|Jan 19||Bomba Fusion||$9.31|
|The People’s Burger||$2.19|
|Jan 20||Sam Choy’s Poke||$13.14|
|Jan 21||Tat’s Delicatessen||$10.50|
|Jan 22||Midori Teriyaki||$8.75|
My solution to this problem? I’ll pack his lunches. It would be easy to pack for him what I pack for myself. But that is the real problem — he doesn’t like what I would pack for myself.
The Wendy’s Eating Husband would never take this Sprouted Lentil & Yellow Beet Salad to work for lunch. He says he doesn’t like it, but he’s never even tasted it. I make this salad for my own work lunches, maybe because no one else will eat it at home. My girls do not like sprouted lentils.
I made this recipe specifically with the intention of it being used as a balanced blood sugar vegan work lunch, with your onion breath in mind. I am in people’s faces all day, so my recipe features scallions instead of the purple onions I really want to use. If you love onions like the Wendy’s Eating Husband loves Wendy’s $1.85 chicken nuggets, add in a slice of finely chopped purple onion.
Speaking of balanced blood sugar, if you have insulin resistance or diabetes, don’t cook the beets all the way. The firmer the beet, the better it is for your blood sugar. The softer the beet, the sweeter it tastes, the more it will spike your blood sugar. Confession: I think this salad tastes best when the beets are soft and cooked all the way. In other words, I feel guilty when I eat this salad with fully cooked, tender beets because I have insulin resistance and work hard to prevent it from converting over to diabetes. Can you believe I feel badly over boiled beets? This is why I spend my weekly “eating out” food budget on therapy.
I would totally bring this to a potluck vs. reserving it as a work lunch. However, this is not something I’d be able to throw together at the last minute, which is how I roll for potluck obligations. The sprouted lentils are a high maintenance ingredient, which means that this salad won’t work for procrastinators who hate potlucks. Sprouting lentils takes several days to make. So, if you really want to impress your friends who think they’re healthy by eating low fat salad dressing, be a planner and not a procrastinator: start sprouting your lentils 5-6 days before the potluck. Once they reach the desired length, you can store them in the fridge to keep them from growing.
I personally sprout my green lentils for about 5 days. If I’m busy and can’t make this Sprouted Lentil & Yellow Beet salad, I let them go for 6 days. If on day 6, I’m still busy and overwhelmed and would rather junk on Instagram, then I rinse them and put them in the fridge, while they wait for me to muster the energy to deal with them.
To call the sprouted lentils high maintenance isn’t really fair. They’re really not that bad. The trouble comes in the timing, not in the making. This is one of my easiest vegan protein sources to make!
First, I rinse the lentils. Then I dump them in a bowl, cover them with a good two inches of filtered water, and let them sit on my kitchen windowsill for 24 hours. After the first 24 hour fully submerged soak, I dump them out into my stainless steel strainer, rinse, and put them back in the bowl, without adding any filtered water. Twelve hours later, I come back, rinse them again, put them back in the bowl, and submerge them in water again (this time I just barely cover them with water). I do an alternation of rinsed and no water or submerged in water, every 12 hours. I’m not counting or watching the clock. I’m just doing this in the morning before I leave for the day, and then again, before I get in bed. I keep doing this until the sprouts are at their desired length, which is usually about 5 days from the time I start the process.
I don’t have a green lentil sprouting tutorial on my blog yet, but it’s on my to-do list! You can also consult Dr. Google for green lentil sprouting tips.
Here’s the first grade sprouted lentil directions:
- rinse lentils
- soak for 24 hours
- rinse or change soaking water every 12 hours until you reach desired sprouting length
The purpose of the rinsing every 12 hours is to prevent mold and other bugs that would want to grow in there.
If the Wendy’s Eating Husband was into this Sprouted Lentil & Yellow Beet Salad, or maybe even a simple green smoothie, I might be a little more okay with those sneaky chicken nugget purchases. Although, to give him some points, when I offered him some of the salad, which he refused to try, he kindly said, “I like yellow beets!”. I’ll take it.
Official disclaimer from the WEH: “Picking up a quick Wendy’s 6 piece chicken nugget every other night that week really helped me not need dinner immediately when getting home. Walking into a house with an excited dog peeing on the floor and 2 crazy kids zipping around like houseflies, the financial and health costs of those nuggets were worth holding me over until they were asleep and I got to sit down to a real meal.”
Sprouted Lentil & Yellow Beet Salad
Makes a medium sized bowl of salad
- 1 cup dry green lentils, rinsed, soaked, and sprouted for 4-6 days, depending on your desired sprout length
- 4 small beets or 3 larger ones
- 3 curly kale leaves
- a handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 6 scallions, trimmed & thinly sliced and/or a 1/4 inch slice of purple onion finely chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon of Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil beets to desired tenderness. Remove beets from the stove to help cool.
- Rinse sprouted lentils and drain very well. Place in a medium salad bowl.
- De-stem kale leaves. Chop stem finely and add to the salad bowl. Rip leaves into chunks and add to the salad.
- Add cilantro, celery, and scallions to the salad.
- Once beets are cooled, chop them into cubes and add them to the salad.
- Add the balsamic vinegars, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- I recommend using organic ingredients.
- Wash vegetables prior to use.
- I use Napa Valley Naturals cherry wood aged grand reserve balsamic vinegar. I buy it locally at Whole Foods.
- The grand reserve balsamic vinegar is sweeter and thicker than normal balsamic vinegar. One tablespoon of the Napa Valley Naturals grand reserve balsamic vinegar contains 5 grams of sugar. If the sugar content wasn’t so high, I’d put more in the recipe!