Mediterranean Lentil Salad
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Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Diane Weeks, a registered dietitian and nutritionist for more than 20 years, and a chef at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway, shares a kosher summer outdoor dining recipe with readers from an older cookbook, “Still Life With Menu.”

According to Weeks, “People can jazz up a regular barbecue by serving a cold soup as well as taking advantage of several tasty variations on gazpacho. (Eee one of the earlier Cooking With Beth Blogs.) One fun and delicious summer dining trend that is sure to please is the inclusion of lots of fruits in a fresh salsa. A fruit salsa can add plenty of flavor to a typical barbecue favorite: chicken. You can also make your own healthy dip in a blender using beans and garlic. And for the perfect finish to an outdoor barbecue, I recommend turning once again to some wonderful varieties of summer fruits and lightly brushing them with a cinnamon sauce that will be the hit that keep all your guests talking for the remainder of the summer season.” ““DW

Weeks also provides outpatient nutrition counseling and community presentations. She regularly conducts healthy cooking demonstrations.

This is one of her favorite kosher recipes that she uses for her summer cooking demos. To contact her, e-mail dwnutritionist@yahoo.com.

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Preparation time: 40 minutes to prepare, plus several hours to chill.

Yield: Easily serves 6

Sweet and savory combine harmoniously in this colorful, fruity marinated salad. Streamline the preparation time by getting everything else ready while the lentils are cooking. The whole salad can be made up to two days ahead of time, but postpone adding the bell pepper and fresh herbs until shortly before serving.

Note about cooking lentils: Try to prevent the water from getting agitated while the lentils are cooking, as that will cause them to burst and lose their shape. The goal is to have perfectly cooked lentils, light and distinct.

2 cups dried lentils (preferably small French lentils-but any kind will do)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1 to 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar
1/4 cup very finely minced red onion
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. each grated orange and lime zest
1/2 cup (packed) dried currants
1 small carrot, shredded or finely minced
1/2 each of a small red and yellow bell pepper, minced

A handful each: finely minced fresh parsley, chives, and mint

1. Rinse the lentils in a colander. Meanwhile, set a large pot full of water to boil-at least 6 cups of water. After the water has reached the boiling point, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the lentils, and cook very gently in the simmering water, partially covered, until they are tender. (Check the water level and add more if necessary). Cooking time should be around 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the lentils when they are done and gently rinse in cold water. Drain again and place in a large bowl.

2. Add the remaining ingredients except the bell pepper and fresh herbs, cover tightly, and chill at least 4 hours.

3. Add the bell pepper and herbs within an hour of serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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