Lentil Fattoush Salad

Lentil Fattoush Salad

I don’t believe in diets, but I do believe in portion control. In other words, eating the right amount of carbs and proteins keeps me on track without cravings or starvation. I have learnt to indulge responsibly and still maintain a healthy weight.

For some of us, gaining weight is a vicious circle. We eat neglectfully, get depressed at what the scale shows, binge, gain more wait, and thus the circle goes. On the other hand, eating right is also a circle, but gratifying. We eat right, the scale tips in the right direction, we feel great, and are motivated to eat right.

But there are no hard and fast rules for eating right. We should be the judge of what goes on the plate and hence to our stomach. But with practice, trial and error, this is quite achievable. Reduce or cut back on simple carbs and sugars; take more whole grains and complex carbohydrates; add a pile of fresh vegetables and fruits to the plate. And most importantly, keep an open mind.

Being fit is not a game of numbers. Yes, LBs and BMI are guidelines, but every one of us are different. Accepting our short-comings, embracing our inner beauty and wearing a confident smile is the first step in the right direction. As long as you are healthy and energetic, don’t let ‘weight’ weigh you down.

Why this sudden gyaan? Well, recently, I have learned to outplay the number game by developing few lunch menus that fits ‘eating right’. I would share them with you all from time to time.

Fattoush salad is a Lebanese salad made with fresh vegetables and toasted pita slices. I have replaced pita with brown lentils or masoor dal, for complex carbs. Also, it cooks faster too. I have also used two ingredients in the dressing, that are worth mentioning.

Aleppo Pepper And Sumac

Left:Aleppo Pepper, Right: Sumac

Sumac is a Middle-Eastern spice that tastes tangy. I would say its taste comparable to kokum, or tamarind in dried form. It tastes great in salad dressings due to its lemony tang, and can also be sprinkled on top of lentil-based soups or stews. It is one of the necessary ingredients for making za’tar.

Aleppo pepper was introduced by Laurie of Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. I have seen her using it in many of her recipes. When I wrote to her, she was kind enough to give me the necessary information to hunt for it. There is only one Middle-Eastern grocer in my town 30 miles away. I managed to treasure hunt in that tiny store to find them both. Aleppo pepper is mildly hot, but with a signature taste. I use this too as a sprinkle on soups and salads. Thank you, Laurie.

Lentil Fattoush Salad (Serves 2)

Ingredients

Brown lentils or masoor dal – 2/3 cup
Bay leaf – 1
Romaine lettuce – 4 cups, chopped into bite sized pieces
Cucumber – 1, large, ¼ inch dice
Red bell pepper – 1, medium, ¼ inch dice
Onion – 1 large, sliced into half circles
Crumbly cheese such as queso blanco or feta – to garnish
Scallion – 1, sliced
Oil – 1 tsp

Dressing

Mint – ¼ cup, minced
Parsley – ¼ cup, minced
Sumac – 1 tsp
Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
Juice of a lemon
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Salt
Pepper

Method

Cover the brown lentils with water and pressure cook with a bay leaf for one whistle only. Alternately, cook on stove-top for about 20 minutes, until cooked, but firm. Drain well. Heat oil in a sauté pan and cook onions for 10 minutes over low heat. The onions should be caramelized.

While the lentils and onions are cooking away, whisk all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl. Toss lettuce in 2 tbsp of the dressing. Transfer to the serving platter. Likewise, toss cucumber, red pepper in the dressing and layer on top of lettuce. Toss lentils with the remaining dressing and layer on top of the vegetables.

Finally garnish with caramelized onions, scallions and cheese and serve warm.

Lentil Fattoush Salad

Lisa at The Vegetarian Kitchen is calling for lentil based salads, for this month’s No Croutons Required challenge. Siri at Siri’s corner is hosting A.W.E.DMiddle Eastern cuisine. This bowl fits both the events. Take it away, Ladies.

Other such lunch ideas are

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

you might find this link interesting for a more authentic fattoush without cheese
http://desertcandy.blogspot.com/2007/10/fattoush-man.html

Mary-Anne

Srivalli said...

lovely bowl suganya!

Arundathi said...

that looks delicious! what a great idea for my stored za'atar!

Pearlsofeast said...

Congrats for winning the awards.The picture was awesome. Hey Ur blog is really good looking.Was just spell bound with those beautufull pictures.
The salad is definetly meant to be bookmarked.

sunita said...

I too don't believe in diets...for us,eating local produce with lots of greens, veggies and fruits are all too important...so are lentils, even rice and bread and at times , the dose of chocolate...well, why not...better than having a little then depriving and binging...and yes, it is a vicious cycle to be trapped in!!

...Sug,your salad looks so beautiful ...thanks for sharing the info :-)

Raaga said...

Looks lovely... we've been having a small meal of only lentils for about a week now :-) instead of snacking after work, we have a bowl of lentils :-) sundal, stir fries etc

indosungod said...

Lovely salad Suganya and your pictures makes me want to try it right away. That is my philosphy on eating too. Craving and binging is far worse.

Asha said...

Gorgeous! That's what we need now in this heat, simple and delicious food. Never tried Aleppo chillies girl!:)

Lisa said...

Thanks for this submission. Healthy and absolutely delicious no doubt. You just might have another winning entry here!

JZ @ Tasty treats said...

great pics as usual...thanks for the insight abt weight loss. i guess i am a bit trapped in the vicious cycle!! ;-) need to get out of it! thanks again suganya!

Mansi Desai said...

that looks awesome! thanks for the "gyann" Sugs!:) I too made lentil salad last week with tamarind dressing for Lisa'as event:) lentil salads work great for summer!!

Mythili said...

Spot on about eating right and portion control. that salad looks deliciously nurturing.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

One of the great pleasures of blogging is being introduced to new cuisines and ingredients. Sumac is a fantastic ingredient, and the pepper recommended by Laurie is new to me, so I'll have to hunt it down. This salad looks wonderfully flavorful and healthy.

Nags said...

have been missing out on all your lovely recipes for a while now.. but came back just in time for AFAM :) will definitely send something in!

Uma said...

delicious salad. lovely pictures.

nadia said...

Your photographs are lovely- I love fatoush

Miri said...

As usual - an impeccable dish with lovely flavours . I have heard of sumac, but first time Aleppo peppers, thanks for the intro!

Sia said...

that bowl of salad itself looks like pure indulgence to me sug:)

Jeanne said...

Oh Suganya, won't you please, please come and cook lunch for me?! This looks amazing and features many of my favourite ingredients. Thanks!

Priya said...

The sumac sounds like something I will really love! I need to start hunting for it too. And what you said about diets is soo true Sug, they get your mind focussed on what shudn't be eaten and therefore increase temptations for the same! Instead if I start thinking on the lines of the wonderful fruits/veggies/dishes I can eat, the whole game changes :D
Do you buy the whole masoor dal from the Indian store or are these the ones we find on the International aisles of regular grocery stores ?

Dee said...

Congrats on the click award! Salad looks enticing!

Kalai said...

That salad looks amazing, Suganya!! Two new ingredients for me to try out, too. :)

delhibelle said...

I love fattoush and yours looks so vibrant!

ServesYouRight said...

Fattoush sounds so mischievous - like "fat tush" :-P I am so curious about sumac - such an adventure :-)

smita

Hannah said...

A wonderful philosophy to adopt, thanks for the reminder. It isn't always easy to eat right when you're knee-deep in sweets! ;)

Andhra Flavors said...

looks delicious and colourful!

Revathi said...

keeping an open mind - well said sugs.. Thats what I lack !!

lisa said...

What beautiful photos Suganya!
And a gorgeous gorgeous salad. Thanks for entering it into our challenge :)

Susan said...

Two of the Middle East's most cherished recipes. What bliss! You did them proud, Suganya!

Ivy said...

Sounds delicious.

monica said...

Made this today with some stale bread tossed into the mix. Delightful. And I have enough dressing leftover for round two tomorrow. Can't wait. Thank yoU!

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