Of course, I made some changes. I wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t.
First of all the recipe is originally from one of those home delivery meal ingredient programs.
I'm just going to say right here - that trend in food preparation boggles my mind a bit, and has this frugal, self-sufficient old soul shaking her head in puzzlement and wonder at its very existence.
Honestly, I just cannot wrap my head around the idea that people need recipe ingredients delivered to their door.
I mean, it’s just really, really not that hard for able-bodied people to go to the grocery store, pick out their own ingredients, and bring them home themselves.
Vast majorities of people have been doing it for generations with no problem.
And I can only imagine the hit to the bottom line that such a practice takes.
So here’s my strong advice to people:
Just do your own shopping already. You’ll save bundles, and you’ll learn and employ some basic life skills along the way.
Just do it already. Seriously.
Okay, rant over.
Back to the recipe in question.
I expect that I feel about them the way many people feel about kale. I don’t deny their wonderful nutritional value, but I cannot enjoy them. I’ve tried. Many times, and over decades. It’s just not going to happen.
So I immediately mentally exchanged them for lovely cabbage. They are both in the same family, but where sprouts tend towards bitterness, cabbage takes on a lovely sweetness when cooked.
The original recipe also called for roasting sweet potatoes separately, an extra step that just adds time I don’t have. But I knew that boiling them along with everything else would make them mushy.
So I substituted carrots instead. Same color and same sweet flavor. It works.
(Of course, you could use sweet potatoes, and just add them for the last 15 minutes of cooking or so. That would work just fine as well. This recipe lends itself to customizing or personalizing. )
So I added black wild rice to the recipe. It was terrific. Really a perfect ingredient for this meal. And this recipe is so cheap that spending the extra on the luxury grade of rice is no problem. To make it even cheaper, you could use regular old brown rice, instead.
And unlike the original recipe, I cooked everything in one pot for simplicity. After cooking the onions a bit, I added the rice, seasonings, and lentils, and cooked them for a while before adding the cabbage and carrots. Then I added the dressing at the end.
It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
I am not sure what to call this dish – a one-pot meal, or a warm salad. Regardless of its name, it’s pretty darned delicious.
Here’s the recipe.
Warm Lentil and Vegetable Wild Rice Salad
Makes approximately 8 servings
Prep Time – Approx. 10 minutes
Start to finish time – Approx.50 minutes
Total recipe cost – Approx. $3.00
Total per person meal cost with salad and bread – Less than $1
2-3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 large onion
3 medium carrots
1 cup lentils
4 cups of water
1 pound cabbage (approximately)
½ cup black or brown rice
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon each of majoram, oregano, thyme, and basil
2 teaspoons honey or maple-flavored syrup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper (to taste)
- Cut a wedge off the cabbage and cut it into strips and then across the strips to make pieces about 1-2 inches in size.
- Wash and peel or scrub the carrots. Cut them into strips, and then across the strips to make half moons or triangle pieces about ¼-½ inch in size.
- Cut the ends off the onion, peel it, and cut it in half where the stems were. Place each half, flat side down, and cut them into strips about ¼–inch in width. Then cut across the strips to coarsely dice them.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot.
- Add the coarsely diced onions and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the rice and stir to coat it well.
- Stir in the 2 teaspoons of honey or maple-flavored syrup and the 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning and heat it for a minute or two, stirring constantly.
- Add the 4 cups of water.
- Cover the pot, turn the heat to high, and bring the contents to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and leave the rice to cook for about 20 minutes if you are using brown rice and about 25 minutes if you’re using black rice. Set a timer to remind yourself.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare the dressing.
- Cut the tips off the 3 cloves of garlic and peel it. Chop or mince the garlic and scrape it into a bowl or cup.
- Measure the 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar into the cup or bowl with the garlic. Add the 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix vigorously with a fork or small whisk. Set aside.
- When the timer goes off, stir the lentils, cabbage and carrots into the pot of rice. Re-cover the pot and resume cooking for another 20-30 minutes. Set the timer again.
- When the timer goes off again, check for doneness. The lentils should be tender, and the rice will have a firmer, nutty consistency. The carrots and cabbage should be tender without being mushy.
- Briskly blend the dressing again with a fork or whisk and gently, but thoroughly, mix it into the lentils and rice mixture.
- Serve the lentils with a tossed green salad and some fresh, whole-grain bread, if desired.
Note: You can also cook this meal in a pressure cooker or instant pot. Cook the rice first, as directed, but cook it at pressure initially for about 12 minutes. Depressurize the pot, and add the remaining contents (lentils, cabbage, and carrots). Cook an additional 10 minutes under pressure. Add the dressing as instructed. This cuts the total cooking time by more than half.