Monday, June 8, 2009
Summer Garden Lentil and Pasta Salad
To switch things up a bit this week, I made a pasta salad on Sunday for dinner with plans to eat the leftovers for lunch this week (I'm growing very tired of turkey sandwiches).
This is salad is very good, but if I make it again I would increase the amount on the vinaigrette to give it more flavor. Plus, the flavor of the dish seems to mellow after being refrigerated.
I started out making the vinaigrette in my handy-dandy mini-food processor. It's simple enough, just combine balsamic vinegar, shallot, garlic, dijon mustard, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. I did this first and let it sit for all the flavors to meld together.
Next, I tackled the lentils. I had never cooked lentils before on their own, and suffice to say I managed to cook them without burning them. Simmering them in chicken stock gives them a lovely flavor.
While the lentils cooked, I set about cutting up the veggies and cooking the pasta shells. I used a whole red bell pepper (the recipe calls for red and yellow peppers, but the yellow peppers didn't look so great at the store), half of a red onion, a small zucchini, and a little over half of a container of grape tomatoes. All of the herbs came from my herb pot, with the exception of oregano. I had to leave that out since I was also out of the dried.
The Parmesan cheese was also (inadvertently) omitted, but the salad was still very tasty. I have been adding cheese to the leftover pasta salad and it does bump up the flavor.
This is suppose to make 4 servings, but I should get at least 5 or 6 meals out of the batch. It would be great for a cookout since there is no mayo.
* 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 1 tablespoon minced shallots
* 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
* 1/2 cup dried petite green lentils
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 cups uncooked orecchiette pasta ("little ears" pasta)- These are also labeled as "small sea shells
* 1 cup diced zucchini
* 3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
* 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
* 1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
* 1/2 cup diced red onion
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper