Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lentil & Sweet Potato Salad

In my never ending effort to find alternatives to processed flours and even whole grains, sweet potatoes are my first "go-to" for a healthy nutrient dense complex carbohydrate.  Having had reactions to so many grains (not just gluten), beans are a sometimes forgotten food as they still lend themselves to the "grain" family when it comes to preparation and digestion.  However, lentils are also one of the highest forms of vegetarian protein and when combined with sweet potato make a very balanced protein & carbohydrate whole food meal!

I have recently made more of an effort to have one vegetarian meal per day...for many reasons really.  #1. I am so limited in my protein options (no eggs, no soy, no dairy), that I find myself eating more processed meats than I like to admit, #2. Beans & whole grains combined make for a well balanced amino acid profile and there's no reason I need animal protein at every meal, #3. Variety is the spice of life!

This recipe was inspired by a friend of mine from high school who made a very similar lentil & sweet potato soup that was "to-die-for" good.  Remembering the sweet flavors and savory flavors of that dish brought me to this creation...

Lentil & Sweet Potato Salad
1 c raw lentil of choice (red, green, french, etc)
3 c organic chicken stalk
1 medium sweet potato, peeled chopped in cubes
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped (i love garlic, if you're not a fan just go with 2 cloves)
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 tsp ea. cumin, chili powder, sald
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Start by bringing the chicken stalk to a boil, and add in the lentils.  Cover and let simmer on low for 35-40 minutes.  While that is simmering, combine the sweet potato, celery, onion, garlic, carrot, and olive oil in a large soup pan on medium heat.  I added in a little chicken stalk and covered to help steam the sweet potato so it cooks better.  When the lentils are done (not too mushy, and I needed to drain extra liquid), add them to the soup pan with the sweet potato mixture and mix well.  Voila!

I eat about a 1/2 c at a time (a serving).  Had it in my breakfast yesterday morning with sauteed kale, or as a quick snack on it's own, or as the main dish on my dinner along side a salad or grilled veggies.  This recipe makes quite a bit, and should last you about 4 or 5 days.

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