Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Lemony lentil and quinoa salad with roasted garlic

Ten things that I love about the warming weather:

1. The fact that it is getting warmer.
2. Enjoying the breeze coming in through the patio door (as opposed to yelping at Mike for leaving the door open).
3. Running outside to get the mail in bare feet.
4. Iced coffee and slurpees.
5. Being able to watch the sunset on the roof-top without freezing my butt off.
6. Not having to lug around a sopping wet umbrella.
7. Wearing an old favourite pair of jeans that were ready for the trash but are now a comfy pair of cut-offs.
8. Going for jogs and bike rides without having to wear gloves and my headband.
9. People-watching people being happy and enjoying the sunshine.
10. Seaside picnic dinners.

I think by now, wherever we are, we are all enjoying some nice, long-time-coming, warm weather. I heard a rumour that the last time Vancouver was above 20 degrees was last September. That is one long stretch of chilly weather. I was beginning to feel like the clouds and the greyness and the soggy rain would linger forever.

Some days, when the winter is long and spring is supposed to be coming but it just has not yet, you can sense the tension in the air. You cannot get from A to B without being honked at, almost side-swiped by an umbrella, shoved on the bus, having someone snap at you and just wanting to run home and curl up under the blankets for eternity. But once that sun starts shining, and the warm air soothes your nerves you almost forget how awful the winter really was.

Once the evenings can hold the days warmth to sunset, Mike and I will spend many of our dinner-times out by the water. We enjoy some snack-type foods at the waters edge while watching the boats in the bay, fending off hungry seagulls and digging our toes in the sand.  The amount of big fancy meals that I make throughout the winter dwindles in the summer, and instead, I look for recipes that are easy to transport and to eat out of a tupperware container.

Our mini-picnics will usually consist of some bread, cheese, a spread or bruschetta (for the bread), a salad and some fruit. If we have cookies or crackers those will usually be packed away for the picnic as well.

Over the weekend I made this super-duper healthy lentil and quinoa salad. I wanted to make my own Italian-like dressing and did this by whisking together some lemon juice, olive oil, dried oregano and dill and seasoned it with sea-salt and honey. The result was a very nutritious, yummy and rustic tasting salad; if you feel like it needs something more, I would crumble in some tangy, soft goat cheese.

Lemony lentil and quinoa salad with roasted garlic

~3/4 cup dried lentils, soaked a few hours or overnight
1/2 cup quinoa
6 garlic cloves, sliced the long way
4 sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 avocado, chopped
1/2 cup chopped baby tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped watercress
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp oregano
Sea salt
1 tsp honey (maple or agave syrup for vegans)

1 - Preheat oven to 400F.
2 - Set 2 pots of water to boil.
3 - Chop garlic and wrap in tinfoil. Roast about 45 minutes, or until soft.
4 - In one pot of water, cook lentils, simmering, for 20 - 40 minutes (this really depends on the lentils you use and how long you soaked them, so check on them often). Do not let them get mushy. Drain and rinse with cold water when tender.
5 - In the other pot, cook quinoa about 10 - 12 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain well.
6 - Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, dill, oregano, sea salt and honey. Set aside.
7 - Thinly slice the sundried tomatoes, chop the baby tomatoes into quarters, cut up the avocado and the water cress.
8 - Remove roasted garlic from oven, chop into smaller pieces or stir into salad whole.
8 - Toss the chopped vegetables with the roasted garlic, lentils, quinoa and dressing.
9 - Set aside, in fridge about 1 hour before serving.
10 - If desired, top and serves with crumbled, soft goat cheese.


  1. This sounds perfect for a picnic! I used to make grain and bean salads like this and eat them all week for lunch...maybe I should get back on that bandwagon. :)

  2. I am already making a list of other combinations to try out. I love summer salads of all kinds :)