Citrus Lentil Salad

Citrus Lentil Salad Recipe

Lentils might be the most underrated food, for the American diet, that is. You’ll find lentils in diets across the globe, but not often in the United States. I wonder why that is since they are so cheap and healthy to boot. It’s crazy how a third world country could eat healthier than a rich and powerful western nation. I guess there’s always hope and I’m thankful I’ve been exposed to proper nutrition to make a decision about my diet and improve my life overall. With a cheap food like lentils, it’s amazing that people choose non-nutritious foods that just toxify the body.

I’ve made soups with lentils before but never really thought to use them in as a primary ingredient in side dishes or salads, until recently. Now I’ve opened up my menu of lunches and dinners considerably. In fact, this new staple cheap food of mine, when paired up with brown rice, the make a perfect protein (which is defined as a food with all nine essential amino acids) and these things are pretty versatile. Some of my absolute favorite lentil recipes come from this site and I’m sure I’ll be posting more as I explore with lentils.

There are tons of different types of lentils, health benefits and uses, according to Jenreviews.com:

  • Brown/Spanish Pardina
  • French Green/Puy lentils (Dark speckled blue-green)
  • Green
  • Black/Beluga
  • Yellow/Tan Lentils (Red inside)
  • Red Chief (Decorticated yellow lentils)
  • Eston Green (Small green)
  • Richlea (Medium green)
  • Laird (Large green)
  • Petite Golden (Decorticated lentils)
  • Masoor (Brown-skinned lentils which are red inside)
  • Petite Crimson/Red (Decorticated masoor lentils)
  • Macachiados (Big Mexican yellow lentils)

The recipe below combines the clashing flavors of oranges and red onion for a perfect dissonance on top of the Indian Garam Masala seasoning and hearty lentils. It’s great as a side dish or as a larger portion for a full lunch.

Citrus Lentil Salad Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of dried lentils (any color)
  • 2 small mandarin oranges, segmented, seeded and membrane removed
  • 1/2 small red onion, julienned
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 of a fresh jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/8 Cup of olive oil
  • Juice from one lemon (or lime)
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Citrus Lentil Salad Directions

  1. Prepare the lentils as directed on the package (use chicken or vegetable stock in the water for additional flavor).
  2. Toss lentils in a mixing bowl with remaining ingredients until well coated and salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to blend evenly.

Cheap Recipe – Coconut Aphrodisiac Fish Soup

This coconut soup is a variation of a recipe I had seen a long time ago that included peanut butter and was more of an Indian-influenced dish, but for this one I wanted a cheap recipe that could be prepared in a short amount of time.

One thing I learned recently, is that some believe coconut to be a mild aphrodisiac. This being said, I think we know why piña coladas have become so popular. I will be sure to add more coconut to my recipes however possible.

One way to make cheap coconut milk is to buy the dried coconut flakes and make the milk by reconstituting it. The canned variety can range in price anywhere from $1.00 to $2.50 for 14oz. The flakes range in price from $.50-$1.00 for a bag of roughly 2 cups.

Basically, what you need is 2 cups of boiling water for every 1 cup of coconut flakes. Place boiling water and coconut flakes in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, let rest for 4 minutes and then blend again for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or sieve, catching the liquid and discarding the flakes, and you’ve got coconut milk.

While there are certain recipes that call for the extra thick and fatty coconut milk, sometimes I prefer a light version of coconut milk, which is when I use this method. This is a good alternative to the canned stuff, but sometimes you need the real deal. However, for this recipe, I used chicken broth as well, so the coconut milk is used to supplement the flavor and add a tropical flavor, thus the re-constituted process works well.

Here is the soup recipe, which was great for a Saturday lunch. It serves four large portions or six medium-sized portions that could compliment a nice salad or sandwich.

Coconut Aphrodisiac Fish Soup Ingredients

  • 1 ½ inch of ginger, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 peeled tomatoes (without seeds)
  • 1 sliced onion
  • ½ diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup of water
  • Himalayan salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 Cups of Chicken Stock
  • 1 Can (400 ml) of coconut milk
  • A bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 Habañero chili
  • 1 cooked carrot and potato cut into medium pieces.
  • 1 lb of fresh white fish (we used Tilapia) cut into big chunks.

Coconut Aphrodisiac Fish Soup Directions

  1. In a large pot, add the coconut oil, minced ginger, garlic, onion, tomato and bell pepper.
  2. Saute for 1-2 minutes until the veggies are fragrant.
  3. Add chicken broth and allow to cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Using a submersion blender, blend the soup mixture.
  5. Stir in coconut milk, salt, pepper, carrot, potato, bundled thyme and habañero pepper. Let cook until carrots and potatoes are soft, about 12 minutes.
  6. Finally, add the fish and allow to cook for 3 minutes before removing the pot from the heat
  7. Remove the thyme and serve hot

Easy Soy Milk Alfredo Pasta

We were down to the end of our groceries and didn’t want to dip into the tomato sauce we made and ate too much of last week, so I explored an Alfredo sauce. But, since I’ve switched to soy milk and have reduced the intake of lactose products, I was curious what my options were for a ‘cream’ sauce using soy milk. So, I went to work and here is what I ended up with. A pleasant cheap food concoction.

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 Pound of spaghetti pasta
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 Cloves of garlic whole
2 C. plain soy milk (do NOT use vanilla soy milk)
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp capers
1 Tsp powdered cayenne pepper
1 Tsp paprika
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 Bay leaf
2 Tbl flour (I used wheat)

DIRECTIONS:

1) Cook spaghetti al dente
2) Meanwhile, in a large fry pan with high sides, heat olive oil to medium-high heat and place in peeled garlic cloves. Roast until brown in color (approx 5 min) and smash with a fork. Cook for an additional minute. Remove garlic from pan, chop on a cutting board and set aside.

roasted garlic in olive oil

2) In the fry pan with seasoned olive oil, add soy milk, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika and bay leaf and heat for 2 minutes until almost boiling. Let simmer for 10 minutes stirring/whisking constantly. Begin to add flour and allow to thicken (about 4 minutes) while continuing to stir.

simmering soy milk

3) Remove the bay leaf, add the pasta, Parmesan cheese, parsley and capers and cook for 2 minutes more.

spaghetti in alfredo sauce

4) Serve immediately.

soy-milk-alfredo-pasta

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