My friend and I spent this afternoon watching Auntie Fee’s cooking videos on YouTube. If you haven’t seen Auntie Fee in action, take a look:
She was recently featured in a segment on Jimmy Kimmel as well. Auntie Fee swears (repeatedly) that parsley will make anything taste good, which got me thinking that maybe I should make something with parsley for dinner. The result is this Lentil Parsley Tomato Salad.
Now, forget Auntie Fee’s parsley and let’s just chat about how great lentils are for a second: Considered a legume (think peas, beans, some nuts), lentils give you a lot of bang for your buck. Just a 1/4 cup (uncooked) of lentils packs 8 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, and 9 grams of fiber into less than 100 kcals AND will cost only about $0.10! Tender and with a slightly nutty flavor, lentils will absorb most any flavor you want to pair them with making them perfect for salads, soups, mashed into dips, or used as an alternative to rice or potatoes. Alone, lentils can be kind of bland, but cook in chicken stock–or I like to add some wine–season with salt and pepper, and you’ve got yourself a great sidekick to any meal!
I used green lentils but you could use brown. I wouldn’t use red lentils, though, because they tend to get mushy when they’re cooked. Make sure you sift through the lentils to ensure that there aren’t any small pebbles and you want to wash the lentils to remove excess grit. Like with rice, you use a 1:2 lentil to liquid ratio to boil the lentils. Which type of liquid you use to cook the lentils is really flexible, but using a chicken or vegetable stock in addition to water really helps to add some flavor. I used a combination of chicken stock, red wine, and water to cook my lentils tonight.
The process of cooking lentils is the same as rice: bring to boil and then reduce to medium heat and let cook for 35-40 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, chop parsley (use fresh, the cost will balance out because the lentils are cheap and it’ll taste so much better), a red onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, and tomatoes (I just sliced cherry tomatoes in half). Quickly rinse the black eyed peas and white northern beans to remove all of the gross can juice (also cheap items btw). Add everything to a large bowl (to save some dishes, go ahead and mix everything in the serving bowl). Then just add in the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and the lentils when they are done cooking. When they’re done, the lentils will be soft but will still hold their shape, and almost all of the liquid will be gone. Just drain and discard any excess liquid.
This made a lot of salad because I just used a full can or bag of everything, but it will last for a while in the fridge and I bet it will only get tastier as it sits with the dressing. It can be served hot or cold. Maybe Auntie Fee has a future in the food show business after all if she’s inspiring dishes like this!
1 lb bag of green or brown lentils, sorted and washed
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup red wine
4 1/2 cups water
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed throughly
1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed throughly
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 small-medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced (or more)
1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper (again, more or less to taste)
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil
1. Add lentils, water, chicken/vegetable stock, and wine to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the lentils are soft but still hold their shape and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. This will take about 35-40 minutes.
2. While the lentils cook, combine the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl.
3. Add the cooked lentils (draining and discarding any remaining liquid), and mix. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. The salad can be served hot or cold. Enjoy!