Do not mistake Red Split Lentils for Red Lentils! I repeat, do not mistake Red Split Lentils for Red Lentils. My PSA for the day.
That’s what I get for not doing my homework.
Dom and I have a new field trip destination. It used to be Wegmans, exclusively, but we’ve added another…and where Wegmans is the stoic and legendary sage of a grocery store, Trader Joe’s is its cool hip and happening little sibling…they each bring something special to the table and we love them both!
One night last week we braved the cold and hit the plaza that houses Barnes & Noble and Trader Joe’s. Paradise. With new book and non-fat chai latte in hand, we scooted next door and sauntered about Trader Joe’s as if we had all night. I probably don’t need to tell you about the contents of our cart. Whole foods, clean ingredients, gluten-free and vegan (for the most part). I even got myself a bright bouquet of baby sunflowers. Heaven.
This field trip began with my quest for ingredients to build a salad. Not just any salad – one so perfect, so tasty and healthy, it would have the power to turn back the hands of time.
My goal: to build a medley of components so exemplary, a mélange – so healthy – we become younger by the forkful…a mixture that I, *president of the comfort food association, would choose to indulge in, week after week, and be very inclined to include in my weekly rotation of meals.
This was a tall order. Did we do it?
We nailed it! With the help of Trader Joe’s…Quinoa, Edamame & Black Rice Salad was born.
Quinoa, edamame, and black rice (together) form what I like to call, a triple threat. They pack a nutritional punch so strong – you just might find yourself screaming ‘Adrian’ when you’re done. Get it? Adrian…Rocky? Pack a punch? Thanks for playing along with me guys…I’m sure my kids appreciate the break!
I used tri-colored quinoa but you could use any flavor you prefer. The same holds true for the rice, you could use a wild rice or a brown rice, each possess a lovely nutty hearty flavor, but I could not resist this color, this time. So rich and deep…it cooks up to the color of the darkest eggplant you’ve ever seen. Stunning.
So what do these fine ingredients, along with baby spinach, red bell peppers, tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, lightly toasted pumpkin seeds, flat-leaf parsley, extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice do for us? Let’s just say, if this salad were competing in the Superfood Olympics – it would earn a spot on the podium. We’ve got our anti-oxidants, fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and iron covered, in a big way.
And why the Persian cucumbers, you might ask? They are seedless, sweet and crunchy. Cucumber perfection.
I thought for a minute about calling this – Fiber, Protein & Vitamin Salad, but I wasn’t sure it sounded tasty enough.
This salad comes together pretty quickly. Once your quinoa, edamame and rice are cooked, you’ll simply toss them with your chopped red peppers, diced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and baby spinach which has been cut using a chiffonade technique (chiffonade means to stack the leaves one on top of another, roll them up to look like a cigar, then slice perpendicular to the roll to create little strips or ribbons), add a nice drizzle of lemon-y olive oil, then top with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and pumpkin seeds.
This salad is bright and nutty, earthy and textural, fresh and lemon-y.
It doesn’t get any better than this.
BUT WAIT! I’m not finished yet! Check out this article on 27 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Quinoa… I knew it was healthy…I never knew how healthy…until now!
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup cooked edamame beans
- 1 cup cooked black rice
- 1 cup chopped red peppers
- 1 cup sliced Persian cucumbers
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 cup baby spinach, chiffonade cut
- ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 5 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Kosher Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Once the quinoa, frozen edamame and black rice are prepared (cooked according to package directions), combine with red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and spinach.
- Whisk the extra-virgin olive oil with the lemon juice and toss into salad.
- Top with parsley and pumpkin seeds.
- Add kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste.
* Just kidding about the comfort food association. Statement included solely for the purpose of hyperbole. I don’t believe there is a comfort food association. That would be kinda cool, though. wink