Monday, May 19, 2014

Lentil Salad with Balsamic Glaze (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Lentils can be lovely, but if you don't cook and prepare them with the right ingredients, their inherent earthiness can overwhelm a dish.

This lovely lentil dish boasts lots of fresh, bright flavors to wonderfully balance the earthiness of the lentils.  As an added bonus, take the extra 5-10 minutes and simmer down some balsamic vinegar and create a homemade balsamic glaze.  This step transforms this dish from really good to off-the-charts good.

Don't love lentils?  Give 'em another try.  They're a rich source of fiber, protein and other great-for-your nutrients.

Lentil Salad with Balsamic Glaze

2 cups dry lentils, cooked according to instructions
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 cup roasted (or just fresh) red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup rice wine or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Cook the lentils according to the package instructions.  Drain and mix with the tomatoes, bell pepper and red onion.  Add the vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and basil and stir well:

Let cool in the refrigerator while you simmer the balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat, until it reduces to 1/4 cup (about half its original volume):

When ready to serve (the lentils taste best if allowed to marinate in their dressing for at least 1 hour), drizzle with a teaspoon or two of the balsamic glaze:

Serves 6-8 as a side, 4 for a light lunch.

Life is sweet!