Carrot and Lentil Salad with Chickpeas and Feta

We had a potluck at work this past week which always gets me excited. The instant I hear about a potluck my mind goes into overdrive coming up with different options for what I might take. The first question is always, should I bring something savory or something sweet? My mind was filled with cupcakes, cookies, whoopie pies and macaroons, cinnamon rolls and brownies, but in the end I went with something savory this time. Since you never know what's going to show up at a potluck, it's always a good idea to bring something that you really like and wouldn't mind eating for lunch if the rest of the options are less than stellar. 

After a lot of thinking I decided to go with a lentil salad. Healthy, easy, and perfect to make ahead. In fact, this type of salad is actually better made ahead so it has time to sit overnight and let the flavors meld. A mix of both lentils and chickpeas sounded perfect along with some lightly roasted carrots, finished with feta and lots of lemon and herbs. Light and fresh and delicious. A definite winner and something to make again and again! 

For the carrots, I used my new gadget that I got for Christmas, a spiralizer! I have been eying them for so long, and this year my sister-in-law gave me one and it's been a lot of fun experimenting with. It was quick and easy to slice these carrots up into thin ribbons. I then roasted them for a short time to soften them up a bit, but not too long so that they started falling apart. It worked out really well for this salad. If you don't have a spiralizer you could either slice the carrots into thin matchsticks by hand, or do what I would do in that case and cut them into chunks and just roast for a lot longer until nice and tender. This would also work well in this salad. 

Don't skimp on the lemon and parsley, they're both key to a well balanced and fresh final product. It would be a little flat without them. And the feta, oh the feta, I could could add feta to just about everything I eat and be happy. It really makes this salad, and turns it into a full meal. Enjoy!

 
 

Carrot and Lentil Salad with Chickpeas and Feta
From Delectably Mine
Ingredients

  • 1 cup (200 grams) dried chickpeas
  • 1 cup (180 grams) dried green lentils
  • 4 large carrots, spiralized 
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

Directions: 
Cook both the lentils and the chickpeas in boiling water until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl.

While the legumes are cooking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the carrots with a little olive oil and salt and roast for approximately 15 minutes until tender, yet still retain some bite and texture. Add the carrots to the bowl with the chickpeas and lentils. Add the green onion, red onion, lemon juice and lemon zest. Give everything a quick toss to combine. 

Preheat a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and swirl around the pan. Add the garlic and let it cook for a minute or two until just starting to take on a little color. Watch it closely so it does not burn. Add the spices to the garlic oil and let them toast for 30-60 seconds until nice and fragrant. Remove pan from heat. 

Pour the oil and spice mixture over the salad, add the honey, and toss until everything is well combined. Let the salad cool slightly and then finish with the feta and parsley, tossing once again to combine everything. Can eat warm or at room temperature. The flavors improve as they sit so this is a good dish to make the night before and pull out of the fridge when ready. Let come to room temperature before eating. 

 

Chunky Mediterranean Eggplant Dip

Mediterranean food is probably my favorite thing to eat. It is so fresh and light and delicious. Now, I know that the word "Mediterranean" encompasses a huge diversity of food from many, many countries and regions, but I really do love it all. I have never been disappointed with something Mediterranean inspired. This dip caught my eye very quickly since it kind of combines two of my favorite things, hummus and baba ghanoush. 

Chickpeas and eggplant along with lemon, some spices and fresh herbs make this wonderful dip that I can easily just eat with a spoon. With a side of pita chips, or an assortment of vegetables this dip really does become the star. Nothing bland about this combination, it's perfect for pretty much anything. 

This is a pretty simple recipe, you really just throw everything in the food processor and let it do the work. The only prep work you really have to do is to broil or grill the eggplant until completely charred and black, and you can do this a day ahead if you want. I decided to cook my garlic this time, but the original recipe calls for raw garlic which is also good, so if you don't feel like getting another pan dirty you can just throw it in raw. Then just pulse away until you reach the consistency you want. It's as easy as that!

Chunky Mediterranean Eggplant Dip
Adapted from From The Land We Live On
Ingredients

  • 1 large (or two small-ish) eggplants (about 1 lb)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons finely diced onion (or a small shallot)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon. za’atar + more for garnish
  • 1-2 tablespoon freshly squeeze lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + more for finishing
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cups (or 1 can) of cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat parsley
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro + more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves

Directions
Turn on the broiler, poke some holes in the eggplant, and broil for about 20 – 30 minutes, rotating every 5 – 10 minutes, until the eggplant collapses and is charred on all sides. Remove, and let it cool. Once cool to touch, peel and roughly chop it.

Place oil in a small frying pan. Add the garlic and cook over medium-low heat until just starting to brown.

Combine the garlic, shallot, salt, pepper, za’atar, lemon juice, tahini, and honey in your food processor and pulse until well combined.

Add eggplant, chickpeas, and herbs to the food processor and pulse several times, until combined, yet still chunky. This dip is best with some texture, but pulse until it reaches your desired consistency.

Transfer the dip to a bowl, drizzle with extra olive oil, sprinkle with za’atar (I also used a little sumac), garnish with some more herbs, and serve with veggies, crackers, or pita chips.

Spicy Quinoa and Hummus Patties with Roasted Red Pepper

Last week when I was thinking about what to make for dinner my mind kept drifting towards a burger. Unfortunately I didn't have any ground meat at home, and I didn't feel like going to the store. However, as I kept thinking I realized I had all the ingredients to make a nice meatless burger; I had cooked quinoa in the fridge, some leftover roasted red pepper, and homemade hummus. I decided to just go for it and make up my own recipe with what I had on hand. The results were fantastic! A soft and tender patty filled with veggies, and given a flavor boost with some fragrant spices. Healthy, hearty and delicious. Although a veggie patty will never be able to fully replace a true burger, this recipe holds it's own as a  delicious and healthy alternative dinner. 

I wasn't sure exactly what ratios I should use for my grain vs hummus vs quinoa, but in the end I really liked the results so I was very pleased. I don't eat tons of veggie burgers, so I don't know what most people are looking for in texture and flavor, but I do know I really loved these so I guess I don't care what other people like! These were soft yet not too delicate and held together as I ate my sandwich. I was worried they might just fall apart as I know veggie burgers sometimes can, but no problem with these. This is definitely a recipe that I will make again, adjusting the flavorings and add ins to fit whatever I have on hand. 

Spicy Quinoa and Hummus Patties with Roasted Red Pepper 

I

ngredients

  • 1/4 cup hummus (approximately 60 grams of my homemade hummus)
  • 40 grams (1/2 cup) oats
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/4 of a roasted red pepper
  • Handful cilantro
  • 100 grams cooked quinoa
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Place hummus, oats and garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor and process until well combined and has formed a thick paste. Add the green onion, red pepper, and cilantro and pulse a few times until combined but still somewhat chunky.

Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and add the quinoa, salt, cumin, cayenne and olive oil. Mix to combine.

Shape mixture into 2-4 patties, depending on your preference. Place in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up a bit.

Preheat grill or grill pan until nice and hot. When ready, transfer patties to grill and cook until nice and hot all the way through, flipping halfway through.

Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings, or top off a salad with this hearty patty in place of your chicken or steak.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpea Spinach Salad

The farmers markets are finally open here in Michigan, and I'm loving it! I'm making it a weekly tradition to head into Grand Rapids every Saturday morning and stock up on a basket-full of fresh veggies and, hopefully soon, fruit. The past couple of weeks what I've been most excited about has been the fresh greens, romaine, spinach, watercress, green leaf and Bibb lettuce, it has been so wonderful! My Saturday afternoon lunches have been filled with salads in the last couple of weeks because of this. Usually I just chop up a few vegetables, maybe boil and egg or pull some ham out of the fridge, but sometimes I feel a little more adventurous. I made this salad on one of my more adventurous days. It takes a few extra minutes but it's totally worth it. The combination is wonderful (even when you are sadly, out of goat cheese!).

I love the combination of the lightly spiced sweet potato mixed with the creamy and hearty chickpeas. The roasted onions add additional sweetness which I always love. A couple of handfuls of spinach and you have a meal. Like I said, I was out of goat cheese, but I know it would have been an amazing addition to this already delicious salad, elevating it to new heights! But either way, this is a great spring salad when you are looking for something to really sink your teeth into. 

Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpea Spinach Salad

Adapted From 

Naturally Ella

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • ½ medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup minced parsley
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 cup chickpeas 
  • 3-4 handfuls spinach

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375˚. Cut sweet potatoes into ¼” cubes and dice onion into large chunks. In a roasting dish, combine sweet potatoes, onions, about 1 tablespoons of the olive oil, and garam masala.  Toss together until well coated. Roast until sweet potatoes are tender, 20-30 minutes.

Once sweet potatoes are done, place in a large bowl. Add spinach, goat cheese, chickpeas, and minced parsley.

Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle remaining olive oil on top. Toss together until well blended. Taste and add more lemon juice/olive oil if needed.