Thursday, August 20, 2009
Lentil Garden Salsa
This fresh lentil salsa is shown here in my funny "salsa pig" that I bought while travelling in Oaxaca, MX. The salsa is made with "the usual" ingredients but it also has green lentils. The salsa is delicious, more nutritious than regular salsa and great way to get both kids and adults to eat healthy lentils. We ate variations of this lentil salsa here at least 10 times this summer alone! Use as a quick vegetarian meal, side salad or scoop it up with your favourite tortilla chips. Place leftovers in a container with lid and they keep well in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Makes approximately 6 cups or 1.5 liters. It doesn't freeze well so cut recipe in half if you want a smaller batch.
2 cups green lentils, cooked - 500 ml
3 cups tomatoes, fresh, large, diced very small - 750 ml
1 1/2 cups each red and green peppers, sweet, chopped fine - about 375 ml each
1 cup green onions, sliced fine - 250 ml (or 1/2 cup each minced white onion and 1/2 cup fresh garden chives)
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced - 125 ml
1/4 cup vinegar (red wine, white wine or cider etc.) - 60 ml
1/4 cup ketchup (or tomato sauce) - 60 ml
2 Tbsp cup oil like olive - 30 ml
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (more if you like)
1 Tbsp chili powder - 15 ml
1 Tbsp cumin powder - 15 ml
2 finely minced hot chiles or jalapenos - more or less depending on how hot you want it. (Sub = 1 tsp/5 ml cayenne pepper, ground)
1. Cook one cup dry green lentils according to package directions in unsalted water until soft but not mushy. I do this in the microwave in a large uncovered dish so they don't boil over. My microwave is older and probably cooks slower but I use 1 cup lentils and 3 cups water and cook on HIGH power for 25 minutes. You can add more water and cook them longer if they are still hard. Alternately cook them the old-fashioned way on the stove or you can use drained, canned lentils.
2. Finely dice the tomatoes, green and red pepper and toss in a large bowl. Stir in the sliced green onions (green tops and white bottoms), minced garlic and cilantro. Next stir in the cooked lentils, vinegar, ketchup, oil, fresh lime juice, chili powder and ground cumin. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can finely chop the vegetables in the food processor if you wish. Chill and serve. Garnish with fresh lime wedges and sprigs of cilantro.
The heat is from fresh chiles. Here Dave is finely slicing a frozen cayenne pepper. I froze them last fall in a sealed plastic bag and they are still good and coming in handy until this year's crop is available.
NUTRITION FACTS (per 125 ml serving): 80 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 65 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, 3 g fibre, 4 g protein. % Daily Values are 2% calcium, 10% iron, 20% vitamin A and 60% vitamin C.
ABOUT LENTILS: Lentils are legumes that are grown in pods, which contain one or two round seeds each. There are many varieties that are classified as large or small. They are generally no more than a 1/4 of an inch in diameter. Lentils cook much faster than dried beans and do not require soaking. Lentil seeds are sold whole or split and some have had the hulls removed. The green and brown lentils, which hold their shape best after cooking, are the most common types. Red lentils are also popular but they do not hold their shape as well when cooked. Lentils have good nutritional value, containing a lot of fibre, B vitamins and protein.
© Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc
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