lentil salad with zucchini, shallots, currents, mint, & lemon


A little like my raised vegetable beds– for a long time too wet to plant, then baked by the sun– with our weather forecast continuing to shift from hot-and-sunny back to cold-and-wet, I find myself not at my best. I’m tired, and simply not feeling robust. I want something warm and nurturing, yet also light, and bright in flavor without being spicy hot. My raised bed zucchini and yellow squash, my tomatoes and hot pepper starts are finally settling into the season and beginning to grow well; thankfully my herb garden and especially the mint is thriving! So I took my cues from them for this meal… with good protein with the lentils and quinoa, lots of vitamin C with the yellow pepper and lemon, also lots of fiber, folate and B vitamins with the lentils and greens, plus a lovely mix of flavors with earthy and sweet notes.

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup french lentils
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup currents, soaked in white wine then drained
  • 12 spearmint leaves, diced
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • fresh ground green and black pepper

instructions:

Place currents in a small bowl or glass, and cover with white wine– I used a Pinot Grigio with hints of green apple that I had open already. I ended up soaking them overnight as my evening plans changed… and fortunately did not finish off the bottle that night, as the Pinot Grigio proved to be a perfect complement for this meal.

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Cull through then rinse the lentils, cover with fresh water, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes. Cook until soft but not mushy, draining any remaining fluid. Let rest without lid ’til cooled. Rinse quinoa well, then cover with a generous cup of fresh water, add a dash of salt, bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 18-20 minutes, until water is absorbed. Fluff with fork, let cool uncovered. While lentils and quinoa cook separately, saute the shallots, garlic, and zucchini in a couple tablespoons olive oil for about 3 minutes, until shallots are just barely beginning to brown and zucchini is bright. Transfer to casserole dish with lid. Next saute the yellow peppers for 2 minutes, until bright and just barely softening. Transfer to casserole dish. Mix lentils and quinoa together well, then mix in cooked veggies and diced herbs. Season with fresh ground pepper, dress with juice and pulp of lemon. This will store in air tight container in fridge for a day or two. I served this warm over mixed greens including some peppery arugula and earthy spinach, with a glass of cold Pinot Grigio.

 

buckwheat zucchini walnut bread


Of course with all the zucchini in my garden I wanted to make zucchini bread! Served toasted with sunflower seed butter for a simple breakfast, or with Tomato and Serrano Pepper soup for a warming dinner– yes, I have lots of tomatoes and hot peppers in my garden too…

I wanted to make something hearty and healthy, gluten free: buckwheat is indeed gluten free (it’s not a member of the wheat family) and packs a healthy dose of protein and fiber. Here’s what I came up with– the carrot and raisins were a nod to my partner who especially likes them.

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ingredients

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • generous 1/2 cup oat flour
  • scant 1/2 cup regular oats
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • slim 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t coriander
  • 1/4 t each nutmeg and cardamom
  • packed 2 cups zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 medium carrot, grated
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 1 T coconut or canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • scant 2 T honey
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins

instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Grate zucchini into colander, squeeze out water, then set aside to allow to drain further. Grate carrot. Set aside. Measure and combine the buckwheat flour, oat flour, and cut oats, and the spices, stirring together well. Melt the butter and coconut oil over low heat. Mash the banana then beat together with the eggs, then mix in the melted butter and oil and honey. Alternately add the flour and spice mixture with the grated vegetables, walnuts and raisins, stirring lightly just until fully mixed.

Lightly butter a baking pan, then fill 2/3 with batter. Bake about 40 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test. Cool in pan on rack for five minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely. I sliced this thickly then wrapped the loaf in wax paper in a freezer bag. It freezes well.