I can’t believe I don’t have a picture of this dish! Quinoa, lentils, and arugula in a simple balsamic-dijon vinaigrette is the perfect potluck or lunch dish. Whole grains, protein, greens and a mild flavouring that is best served at room temperature makes for a nourishing, make-in-advance dish that won’t intimidate anyone who doesn’t like strong flavours or spices, but please those who like savoury, nutty freshness. Add some toasted almonds or hazelnuts or use a nut or seed oil to emphasize the nut flavour. Feel free to replace the watercress with arugula or other spicy or bitter salad green, and replace the feta with your cheese of choice (sheep’s milk and goat’s milk work well). And if you don’t have mint in your Lufa Farms Fresh Basket, you can basically add whatever you do have that week – parsley, sage, chives or a combination. Cilantro and basil are strong, so if you opt for those, start with just a little and add more to taste.
2/3 cup dry green or brown lentils
1 cup quinoa
3 1/2 cups water, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1 yellow or red sweet pepper, finely diced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of watercress, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon
80 grams (aka “A chunk” or “as much as you want”…) feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the lentils and cook them in a saucepan with two cups of boiling salted water, about 30 min until tender but still somewhat firm. Drain, discard the liquid and set aside the lentils.
- Soak the quinoa in enough water to cover for 5 minutes (the soaking makes the quinoa less bitter). Drain the quinoa and return to the pot. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat but leave the pot for 10 minutes with the lid still on. It will finish cooking this way as it cools.
- Prepare the vegetables: Seed, core and dice the pepper; finely chop the shallot; coarsely chop the watercress. Place the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the lentils and quinoa to the bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper (you won’t need much salt if your cheese is salty, so start with just a pinch and adjust if you need more later). Pour over the salad. Gently toss to combine. Coarsely crumble the feta cheese (or slice or grate depending on firmness and type being used) and add it on top of the salad. Sprinkle with the finely chopped mint (and optional nuts), then serve.