First things first, if you are a cilantro hater, fear not. This is a safe space. Cilantro haters are welcome here. I used to be a cilantro hater before cancer screwed with my taste buds. If you hate cilantro, just sub in regular parsley. You'll get the fresh earthy green taste without all the cilantro-ness. No judgment here!
I love lentils because they're cheap, they're easy to prepare, and they're little protein / fiber / iron powerhouses. I always eat my lentils with citrus to help my body absorb as much iron as possible.
I love tacos. This salad marries my love of tacos with my desire to eat less meat. I get all the tasty taco flavours without the guilt of inhaling a pound of beef / cheese / sour cream.
Lentil Taco Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (plus 1 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper for roasting)
1/2 cucumber, diced
10 cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
1 orange, peeled and chopped
1 head lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1/4 lime juice (approximately 2 large limes)
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Tobasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup olive oil
small bunch (about 1/4 cup) fresh cilantro
green onions, sliced
grated cheese (pepper jack is particularly tasty)
sour cream or Greek yoghurt
tortilla chips, crushed slightly
Preheat oven to 400F.
Place rinsed lentils in medium-sized saucepan and cover with 1 - 2 inches of cold water. Bring to boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.
While lentils are cooking, mix diced sweet potato with 1 tablespoon olive oil and put on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip, and roast for an additional 10 - 15 minutes until fork tender.
Place salad dressing ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Immediately after draining cooked lentils, stir in two tablespoons of prepared dressing.
Assemble salad ingredients on plates, drizzle lightly with dressing, and serve with an assortment of optional toppings.
Alternatively, layer salads in mason jars for quick and easy weekday lunches. The trick to mason jar salads is to put the hardiest items at the bottom with the dressing and the more fragile items (leafy greens) near the top, as far away from the dressing as possible. I layered my lentil taco salad as follows: lentils, a teaspoon of dressing, oranges, sweet potatoes, green onion, green pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce. I skipped the avocado all together because I have texture issues and day 2 avocado is my nightmare. I leave lots of space at the top of my jar so I can shake everything up when I'm ready to eat.