After rediscovering lentils over the winter, I pledged to use them more and more in my cooking, and then... I didn't. On the one hand, I kind of just forgot about them, but on the other hand, they seem more like a winter grain if there is such a thing. I think of lentils as being parts of stews, soups, and hearty winter meals.
This dish however, is a great example of how lentils can be used in a salad. Lentils are cooked with rice, then tossed with cucumber, chorizo, red onion, herbs, and a smoky-spicy chipotle dressing. Served on a bed of spinach, this was such a wonderfully comforting dinner, and the leftovers made for a fantastic lunch. I loved how the spiciness of the chorizo and chipotle dressing played off the coolness of the cucumber and the warmth of the lentils and rice.
The original recipe called for ham, but we are much bigger fans of chorizo, so I went with that. I also subbed a roasted poblano for the red bell pepper. This was a super easy meal to put together, its healthy, delicious, and perhaps the best part - my 2 year old gobbled it right up!
As an aside, check out the Featured Recipes page - I've updated it with lots of fun foods for football season!
One Year Ago: Chicken Mole
Lentil-Rice Salad with Chorizo, Cucumber, Red Onion, and Herbs
adapted from Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday
- 2/3 cup lentils (Le Puy or brown)
- 1/2 cup long-grain rice
- 4 ounces chorizo, cassings removed
- 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 medium poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, and diced
- 8 ounces salad spinach, long stems removed, roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or scallions
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo
- 1 teaspoon chipotle canning sauce
- 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
Meanwhile, crumble the chorizo into a pan set over medium-high heat, and cook, breaking up large pieces with a wooden spoon, until the meat is cooked through. Drain off excess fat and set aside.
Combine the oil, vinegar, chile, canning sauce, oregano, and a scant teaspoon of salt in a food processor. Process until smooth and set aside.
Scoop the lentil-rice mixture, red onion, and the chorizo into a large bowl. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss well. Add the ham, cucumber, and roasted poblano to the mixture and toss to combine. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary.
In another large bowl, add the spinach, and drizzle on about 3-4 tablespoons. Toss to combine, and divide the greens among serving plates, roughly forming nests. Scoop a portion of the lentil salad into the center of each, sprinkle with cilantro or scallions, and serve.