An Organic Feature; Fresh Bites: ‘Good For You Lentil Salad’ by Organic Contessa


North Carolina posses a phenomenal labyrinth of organic farms and breeds an intense commitment to cultivating a stable agriculturally driven community. It’s one of the many reasons I am so proud to be from this beautiful state.

Recently I was introduced to Peaceful River Farm located in Chapel Hill, NC. PRF is owned by Lee & Larry Newlin where they grow beautiful, sustainably grown produce that includes an array of vegetables, berries, herbs, and edible flowers. Now, I have to mention I have yet to tour the Newlin’s farm, however I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity. I love learning about new organic farms around the state but what makes this one particularly interesting is that Lee holds cooking classes on location in an effort to create and share delicious meals from foods grown on their farm which enhance health and fight disease. So what’s next on the agenda? A quick sign up for one of Lee’s classes and a full report on the experience back to you! Consider it done.

But until then, here’s a recipe from Lee’s site that I simply had to share. I’d been looking for a new spin on incorporating lentils in more dishes – this easy and delicious salad does the trick, no matter the season.

 “This combination is powerful.  You’ll find it hard to beat the cholesterol lowering fiber from lentils, lycopene from tomatoes, and one of my favorite healthy foods-cancer fighting red peppers. Vitamin E from olive oil rounds out this nutritional knock out dish.  I think it is one of the best recipes for both great flavor and great health benefits plus it is perfect for a picnic.” ~ Lee Newlin

1 cup dried lentils (French green lentils or black Beluga lentils are the best varieties to use for lentil salads because they have lots of flavor and they hold their shape when cooked.)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Celtic or sea salt (has lots of minerals)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (this is the one with the most vitamin E)

½ of sweet red pepper, finely diced (more vitamin C than an orange)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley or basil
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (green and white parts) or fresh chives
1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese
1 cup sliced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes right out of the garden

Optional:  sliced Kalamata black olives but for me this is critical in the over all flavor

4  large leaves (cleaned and dried) romaine lettuce leaves


1. Sort and rinse the lentils. Place in a saucepan and cover with water by 3 inches (the length of your index finger) and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook until tender all the way through about 20 minutes.  Don’t overcook to avoid mushy texture. Drain.

2. Toss the hot lentils with the red wine vinegar, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Then gently add the olive oil, red peppers, scallions, cherry tomatoes, feta and parsley.

3. Ladle each serving of the room temperature lentil mixture into a large lettuce leaf and garnish with the above suggestions to your liking.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy lovely ones ~ Organic Contessa xo

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