Lentil salad with yogurt and tahini dressing: nutrient-rich poor man’s recipe
Time: cook. 10 mins
prep. 5 mins
Difficulty: very easy
Yields: 2 portions
Cost: very low
In Italy lentils represent for many a food to be consumed only in occasion of New Year’s Eve: because they are believed to be bearers of abundance.
Frankly speaking, I do not know how much this popular belief can be founded, but as an expert in nutrition, I strongly believe that eating lentils contributes to enrich the organism, without ruining the budget… so the ancestors were “right” once again!
A legume defined as “poor man’s meat”, actually deserves more respect and a greater presence on the tables of all social classes, as it is very rich in macro and micro nutrients: proteins (about 24 grams out of 100 grams of lentils), mineral salts (iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, selenium); vitamins (folic acid B9, thiamine B1, riboflavin B2, niacin B3, pantothenic acid B5, pyridoxine B6; complex carbohydrates and fiber, beneficial characteristics for the cardiovascular system, in the treatment of cancer and for overall well-being of the body.
If consumed without fatty or caloric ingredients around, they also help reduce body weight as they are able to satiate without overloading.
Given the points made so far, lentils are inevitably part of the corollary of the CHEtarian diet: cheap, healthy and very sustainable.
I explained in the article titled “How to cook legumes“, that lentils, although most people consider them a winter food, are actually good in all seasons, including summer. This is demonstrated by the lentil salad with yogurt and tahini dressing: the protagonists of the recipe, provide an excellent shortcut for dinners or lunches which we want them to be handy and refreshing, without being “miserable”.
For their preparation you can follow the advice on the package “does not require soaking”: it is true, they cook well even without. However even though they contain less phytates than other legumes, I think soaking them is a good practice to adopt, especially if you are a “great bean and/or whole grain eater” like me: in this case keep under strict observation the ingestion of phytates, as they can chelate iron and/or calcium present in your diet.
Soaking will also be useful for another important issue: sustainability, i.e. reducing the energy needed for cooking. If this topic interests you, be sure to read this article.
Finally, lentils prepared in this way can be frozen or transformed into preserves (respecting all the necessary criteria), to be used as needed; in the refrigerator it is better to keep them no more than 3-5 days.
Ingredients for lentil salad with yogurt & tahini dressing
100 grams of green lentils
2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds (or other fresh or dried fruit)
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
4 tablespoons of plain yogurt
2 tablespoons of tahini
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice or balsamic vinegar (or a mix of all)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch of grated garlic
a few leaves of arugula, and/or beet greens and/or dill to give an extra touch of flavor (dill goes very well with lentils: if you find it, opt for it)
For this lentil salad with yogurt dressing, I thawed a portion for two people, previously soaked for about 2 hours and cooked in a pressure cooker for about 7 minutes with 2 bay leaves. Thawed, or cooked at the moment, drain the cooking water, add salt and bring them to room temperature (personally I prefer them well chilled, in hot summer days).
Just 10 minutes before serving, prepare the sauce in a large bowl, stirring the lemon juice and oil evenly to emulsify them, then add the yogurt, tahini and a clove of grated garlic, then mix well all.
In the initial indications on the cost of the dish, I indicated “very low”: as long as you produce the most “noble” ingredients yourself.
Therefore, prepare the tahini and yogurt at home: the taste of the lentil salad will be perfect and the cost will be ridiculously low; furthermore, by not stimulating the production of packaging, it returns to us as an extra victory in favor of sustainability!
We spread the dressing on a plate, add the drained and salted lentils on top; scatter pomegranate kernels, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, beet leaves and dill.
And to finish, we bring this gorgeous, rich lentil salad with yogurt and tahini dressing to the table, along with a few slices of whole wheat sourdough bread and a bowl of rich salad.
Enjoy your salad and good revolution to all