Curried Lentil Salad, Building Your Pantry of Spices and Building Confidence…


Hi everyone and please click on the title of this post to read more. First off, I am hosting a free Raw Food Workshop by certified Raw Foodist Catherine Moon this Thursday from 9:30-11:30. If you are interested in attending, please email me at alma@takebackthekitchen.com. You may not want to become a full raw foodist, but wouldn’t some raw , healthy food be a nice addition to your diet???

Well, I hope everyone had a great weekend. I am proud to say that, this weekend, I was fortunate enough to witness my 8 year old run a 5K Run with an awesome program called Girls on the Run (www.girlsontherun.org)which helps young girls develop positive self esteem via discussions and physical exercise. I watched my daughter who has never run in her life, drag her feet and ask not to have to go to the program at our local park every week leading up to the actual race. My husband and I were very careful to be understanding and supportive yet firm about the fact that she had made a commitment and needed to follow through.

Believe me, it was not easy for any of us early on Saturday mornings to get to the practice with her resistance and it was even harder getting our four small kids up and out of the house by 7AM this weekend to get her to the final race in a town 1/2 hour away. As you will see by the smile on her face in the video below (and every week when I would pick her up), however, even after she refused to eat or drink to fuel up, still pleading that she not have to do it, we were all thrilled, including her, when she received her medal and finished the race.

What we all learned was that our young child felt overwhelmed and afraid that she would not be able to do something that she had never done before and that she might be embarrassed by her performance in the end (actually, that’s our psych 101 theory). Once she stuck with the plan, with our consistent support, she accomplished her goal, felt GREAT about it and may even consider doing it again which would be a healthy choice.

How similar this is to the experience of people over the last decade to whom I have given the following curried lentil salad recipe. They taste it,love it, ask for the recipe and then are completely blown over when they see all the spices involved. “Oh, I’m not a chef-who the hell has all those spices in their kitchen?”.
“I’ll never be able to pull that one off-look at that long list of ingredients. I’ll just eat it when you make it”.

I must admit that I have even enabled all of you because I have never given you this staple recipe of mine-until now. I feared you would be overwhelmed by the list of spices. I am now here to support you and tell you that you are SO up for the challenge because all this recipe requires is to have the confidence to build your spice pantry. Instead of looking at the negative, “I have none of those spices”, act positively and productively and PURCHASE the spices that you will now have for future recipes. Have the confidence to say, “No, I do not have these spices, but I will buy them”. Don’t dwell on the fact that you may be 35, 40, 50 years old and are embarrassed that you have never had these in your pantry. It’s time to move on, take back your kitchen, take back your pantry and get to the friekin’ store. I promise, you will not be sorry.

Now, watch my adorable daughter on the video below and start this recipe that is perfect for summer brunches, BBQs, to bring to a new mother or to have as an entree or side dish. You deserve it! P.S. Thanks to Julie Rosenberg for serving this to me over 15 years ago and passing on the recipe 🙂

Curried Lentil Salad:

1 1b dry green lentils, boiled until tender-NOT mushy
1 cup finely chopped red onions
2 cups cooked orzo pasta or cooked brown rice
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 cup currants or golden raisins
optional: 2 handfuls of sugar snap peas, thawed frozen peas or cooked string beans cut into inch sized pieces or any other green vegetable or legume like edamame

Dressing:

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard

spices:

3-4 TBS sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon

In a big bowl, combine all cooked salad ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients and spices until combined and stir into salad until fully combined. Serve warm or cold.

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7 Responses

  1. Awesome! I watched this with my mom and thought it was so cool and funny! I loved when Ayla was in the car telling about the race! Great job Ayla!

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