We’ve made it to 2013! Meaning that it’s time to start working on those resolutions, at least until your willpower gives out. We all know that some of the most common resolutions each year are related to health and fitness, with gyms getting swamped and kitchens being emptied of junk food every January. If you’re among the masses resolved to whip yourself into shape this year – good for you! But how to make it stick? One trick is to ease yourself into the process, making healthy living and good eating a habit rather than an all-out crash course in deprivation. Kick things off with a healthy, but still filling lunchtime salad that will provide you with enough energy and nutrients to make it through your busy afternoon. To really make things easy on yourself, prepare enough of the lentils and mushrooms to make this salad 3 or 4 times, and your first week of healthy eating will be a breeze.
Lentil, Mushroom, and Spinach Salad
- 6 TBS olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 TBS red wine vinegar
- 1/2 TBS dijon mustard
- 2 TBS coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 medium red onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 c. green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
- 10 oz. button mushrooms, brushed clean and thinly sliced
- leaves from 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme (about 1 tsp leaves)
- coarse sea salt
- 5 oz. baby spinach (1 standard clamshell container)
- 2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
- Whisk together 4 TBS of the olive oil, the red wine vinegar, the mustard, and the parsley in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning and adjust ratios if necessary, than set dressing aside.
- Heat 1 TBS of the remaining olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add the lentils and the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until lentils are tender. Cooking time will depend on the variety and size of your lentils, so taste occasionally for doneness.
- In a large frying pan, heat remaining 1 TBS of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and the thyme leaves and stir to coat with the oil, then sprinkle with sea salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released liquid and turned golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
- Pour half of the dressing on the lentils and stir to coat. Pour the remaining half of the dressing over the spinach, and toss to coat. Divide the spinach among 4 plates, and top each plate with a scoop of lentils, a scoop of mushrooms, and a sprinkle of feta cheese.