Cold Weather Detox Salad with Crispy Lentils

January 02, 2018

Happy new year! I hope you had a healthy and happy holiday season. Here's hoping 2018 isn't as much of a mess politically and otherwise as 2017 was - please don't bring another orange-haired buffoon with a finger on the nuclear button into the sphere of world politics, and Europe, stomp down that ongoing rise of extreme right wing and neo-nazi behaviour. I made a big list of goals in 2017 and promptly lost it, and I'm staying away from resolutions this year. I think if I found that list I might just be a little down in the dumps about how much I didn't accomplish, hah. This was also perhaps the most difficult year of my life financially because working as a freelancer stinks when people don't pay you. But, 2017 was a big year for this blog and I want to thank all of you for helping me grow and start to reach toward some of my dreams. You're awesome.

I had to start off 2018 with a salad recipe, right? A lot of my blogging peers shared smoothies - like this 4-in-1 from my pal Sarah - but I'm waiting on a new blender and mine is not up to the task of green smoothies, unless the point is teeth filled with green chunks. A big salad is one of my top five things to eat and I especially love them in winter. There's something so fresh and clean about eating bright foods like pomegranate and orange in the depths of winter that really appeals to me, and my root-vegetable laden diet. This salad also features some spicy, crispy roasted lentils. If you really don't want to turn the oven on you can use regular cooked lentils, but 1. the oven will heat up your house, and 2. crispy lentils are infinitely more fun than not-crispy lentils. 

This is a salad with a lot of bite, with the rucola, red cabbage, and seeds, and it's definitely not soggy and disappointing. I ate leftovers with some quinoa and it was a great light dinner. A quick note about the vinaigrette - it's orange and ginger, with a big hit of pepper. My new big thing is orange and pepper, from a dish I had at a friend's at Christmas. If you don't like pepper as much then reduce the quantity called for, but I promise it's amazing with the orange.

I don't believe in detoxing, it's not a real thing, but this salad is full of diuretics so it should help with bloating and water retention. Diuretic salad doesn't sound great though. If you're feeling a little sluggish post-holiday excess, swap out your sandwich for this and it might make you feel better. Any kind of diet high in a mix of different vegetables is good for you but I beg you not to start your year off hungry and trying to stick to a liquid diet. Be kind to yourself and eat a potato.

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Cold Weather Detox Salad with Crispy Lentils
Serves 2-4

Crispy Roasted Lentils with Ras el Hanout

1 1/2 cups cooked brown* lentils, soaked beforehand
1 teaspoon oil (grapeseed, avocado)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F. Mix the lentils with the oil and spices until coated, then spread into an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-18 minutes or until crispy.

Detox Salad

4 cups rucola
1/4 small red cabbage (1 cup), shredded
1 large navel orange, peeled and sliced
Arils from 1/4 pomegranate
1/4 cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, hemp, sunflower)

Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl and top with the crispy lentils and orange ginger vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Orange Ginger Vinaigrette

1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice (about 1 large orange)
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
Sea salt to taste

Whisk or shake all the ingredients together until combined. Keep in the fridge for up to three days.

• To keep the salad for a couple of days, or if you're packing it for lunch, keep it separate from the dressing until right before serving.
• The lentils will stay crispy in a jar on the counter for up to three days, but not if stored with the salad.

1. I've only tried this with lentils that have been soaked for several hours. A good trick is to freeze lentils that have been soaked, not cooked, to use in dishes like this one or this lentil stew.
2. I'm sure this would work just as well with beluga or French lentils, but I haven't tried. I'm not so sure about red lentils.
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