My favorite way of eating beans during the hot summer months is in salads, and lentil salad, although not so pretty on its own, is quite delicious and quick to make.
As I go through the week, I like to build off of the previous day, incorporating yesterday's leftovers into today's meal that will have one freshly made dish. This way I'm not cooking everything from start to finish every day, can often put a really nice meal together in a half hour, but I'm always serving something fresh along with leftovers.
On Tuesday, I had leftover rice and cooked greens from the day before. While I worked in my office in the morning, I cooked the lentils and let them cool. When it was time to start making lunch I chopped the vegetables for the lentil salad, mixed the dressing in with the lentils and vegetables, made rice pilaf with the leftover rice and - voila - lunch was ready. Prep time not counting the time the lentils were cooking while I worked was probably about 20 minutes.
And the following day, I had leftover lentil salad but didn't want to serve the exact same meal we had had two days before so I made couscous pilaf out of the couscous left from Sunday dinner.
Planning and cooking this way allows you to observe the rhythm of the week and to make adjustments according to the weather, time of year, activities, and any number of other considerations that go into planning and cooking a meal. It takes practice, and I will be addressing these things in my upcoming cooking series from Life in Christ Cooking.
2 cups lentils picked over and rinsed
3 ½ cups water
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces
1 unwaxed cucumber, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1. Put lentils and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, lower flame, cover and simmer until lentils are just tender (30 to 45 minutes). Thoroughly drain the lentils.
2. While the lentils are cooking, prepare the dressing by mixing together the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper and pouring into a large bowl.
3. Add cooked hot lentils to the dressing.
4. Add chopped tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and parsley to the lentils and mix well. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator an hour before serving.