A lot of the time I give a polite “no thanks” when food demonstrators try to get me to try their samples. They’re generally heavily processed products, and I try to stay away from those.
But, I was getting hungry, so when the gentleman at Mariano’s offered me this salad, I took the little cup of it, and the accompanying recipe. It’s a pretty good little salad.
(Let me digress a minute. Always check out the recipes handed out in grocery stores and at food demos. Chefs, dietitians or other food experts — people who know their way around food — have created them and they usually are quite good.)
The recipe calls for canned lentils — a timesaver — although I think if you cooked lentils and have leftovers, those would work just as well.
This recipe also uses bottled salad dressing, but I am going to include a recipe for a DIY balsamic vinaigrette because it’s so simple to make your own dressing. It’ll make more than you need, but then you’ll have it to serve atop salad greens later in the week or to use as a marinade for chicken.
If you’re someone who practices Meatless Mondays, serve this salad with an omelet and just like that, dinner is served!
MEATLESS LENTIL SALAD
MAKES 2 CUPS
1 (15-ounce) can lentils, rinsed and drained
½ cup finely chopped carrots
½ cup finely chopped and peeled cucumber
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
⅓ cup balsamic vinaigrette (see recipe below)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. If desired, cover and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to develop.
Note: Mariano’s also suggests making this with its light lemon ginger sesame vinaigrette.
MAKES ABOUT ¾ CUP
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard and garlic. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.