eat well, live free

Spring lentil salad

It finally feels like Spring in Sacramento! I have been tortured by a lack of vitamin D and endless cold. This was my first true winter since I lost the weight (and didn’t have a wedding date approaching). I just did not feel like going outside to exercise which brought on further torture: fear of gaining it all back.

Last week, the sun came out and I feel completely revved up and back in action! I dusted off my celebratory weight loss red bikini, and it is hanging on my night stand to get me motivated in time for summer. I didn’t dig too much of a hole for myself this season, but I feel completely re-committed to living healthy.

I have a consistent schedule: up by 6:15 a.m. to get my workout done, then I ride to work and into bed by 10 p.m. I’ve decided to depend on myself to work out at home so that I can save a ton of time travelling to and from the gym. It’s risky, but I am committed to the challenge. I would rather take the time to prepare breakfast and lunch.

I’m also back to craving protein and carbs like I haven’t eaten in a year. Inspired once again by the Sacramento Co-Op deli, I did a little research on lentil salad preparation methods. Lentils are the third highest in protein of any legume or nut with 18 grams of protein per cooked cup. Variations of this lentil salad have been living in my refrigerator, at dinner parties and at family gatherings for the last two weeks.

This salad couldn’t be more simple to prepare and it lasts a few days before getting mushy. Well prepared, it is low fat, high in protein, and as solid a meal as you can find.

Spring lentil salad
2 c dry lentils
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/8 c olive oil
3/4 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1 whole bell pepper, chopped small
salt to taste

Boil 2 quarts of water, add the lentils. Boil for approximately 15 minutes. There is no exact timing because each batch of lentils vary in size and density. Test the lentils for firmness. Drain immediately after the first lentils start splitting open. You want the lentils to hold up in the salad without turning to mush.

Toss in all of the other ingredients and let sit in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.

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