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If you’re running out of ideas for what to make from your overstocked pantry, try a recipe out of Andrew Zimmern’s kitchen.

The award-winning chef and host of MSNBC’s What’s Eating America shares his recipe for a vegan, protein-rich salad in the Yahoo Life series Cooking for Comfort.

The key ingredient for this nutritious salad? Lentils.

“Lentils and other beans are so nutritious,” Zimmern tells Yahoo Life. “They’ve got a lot of protein. They’re nutrient-dense. They’re super healthy for you.”

If you don’t have lentils, you can swap them for any other beans stocked in your pantry. “This recipe is 100% vegan,” Zimmern explains, though it certainly doesn’t have to be. “You can add leftover shredded chicken or roast pork, whatever you wanted in there if you happen to want to extend it and make it more protein-based.”

The lentils are paired with rice, cumin, coriander and some fresh ingredients including shallots, tomatoes, radishes, cumin, coriander, parsley, mint and cilantro. The herbs can be swapped with any herbs you have at home, Zimmern says.

And if you don’t like cilantro, try pairing it with mint and give it another shot. “The mint fights off the ‘soapiness’ of the cilantro and vice versa,” Zimmern explains. 

The salad is dressed with olive oil, honey, lemon and lime juice, and it’s topped with sliced avocado. For the garnish? “A leaf of mint, if you really want to get arty,” Zimmern says. “Super simple, delicious, rice and lentil salad.”

Watch the video above for more of Zimmern’s tips, and read on for the full recipe. 

Andrew Zimmern's Rice and Lentil Salad
Andrew Zimmern’s Rice and Lentil Salad

Andrew Zimmern’s Rice and Lentil Salad

Ingredients
2 cups cooked rice, any kind
3 cups cooked lentils or beans
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
¼ cup shallots, minced
⅓ cup parsley, loosely chopped
⅓ cup cilantro, loosely chopped
4 sprigs fresh mint
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
⅓ cup fresh lemon and lime juice
⅔ cup olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
Fresh black pepper
½ tsp. salt
1 avocado, sliced for garnish

1. In a large bowl, add the rice, beans, cumin, coriander, shallots, parsley and cilantro.

2. Thinly slice the mint leaves, leaving out the thick parts of the stems, then add to the bowl. Slicing the mint right before it gets added to the bowl prevents the leaves from bruising. Add the tomatoes and radish. Pour in the lemon and lime juices, then add the olive oil. Drizzle the honey on top. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Stir by holding the spoon at the bottom of the bowl, then shaking the bowl back and forth. This way, the ingredients are gently folded together so the tomatoes and lentils don’t turn to mush.

4. Transfer the salad to individual serving plates. Top with sliced avocado and garnish with a mint leaf.

For more of Andrew Zimmern’s recipe ideas, go to AndrewZimmern.com

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Andrew Zimmern shows us how to make a vegan, protein-rich salad using pantry ingredients
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