What do you usually have for breakfast? Do crush hard on cereal and oatmeal or are you more an eggs and bacon kind of a person? Well, I personally show no bias when it comes to breakfast! But these days, I’m really craving the savory stuff! Bring on the fried eggs! But those savory dishes needed something new, so how about a sauce? Yup. How about Spinach Cashew Pesto? Um, YES!!! Ok, well I’ve got the recipe here for you!
It’s probably not too shocking to hear that I love salads. But, let me clarify, I like salads that have lots of flavor and that satisfy. So if I’m building a salad, rest assured that it will taste good, be nutritious and leave you feeling content – like a happy little rabbit. Guaranteed then, that this Spinach Salad with Macerated Strawberry dressing will leave your little white tail twitching with joy.
That’s what everyone wants right, for everything in life to be a little easier? No lines at the post office, no red lights on the way to work or perhaps someone around who can clean your house and do your laundry? Well, sure that would be fine and wonderful, but it’s just not possible. The good news though? There is one area of your life that I can assure you can be easier, and that’s meal preparation.
“How?” you ask.
Just ask my friends at the Recipe Redux. The theme this month is simplicity and simplicity to them means recipes that contain less than 7 ingredients. Brilliant! My recipe for this month is super easy. I start with French green lentils, which are earthy and delicious and hold their shape and texture well. Then, I add fresh veggies in the way of bell peppers, cucumber and spinach. I jazz it up with a little fresh parsley and feta cheese and then use simple vinaigrette-based salad dressing to put that exclamation point on EASY! And there you go, in just about 30 minutes, you’ve made an amazing lentil salad that is not only delicious, but nutritious. Bravo!
And when you’re done making this recipe, check out the recipes below for more inspiration. They’re all super delicious and nutritious, less than 7 ingredients and EASY!
And Here are the Pretty Pictures of my French Lentil Salad:
A simple, yet elegant salad made with green French lentils, fresh spinach, cucumbers, parsley and feta cheese.
1 cup green or French lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups spinach, thinly sliced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup seeded, diced cucumber
1 cup fresh parsley, cleaned, dried and finely chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup Balsamic vinaigrette or Italian salad dressing
Place lentils in a medium-size pot and add water to cover by about 2 inches. Set pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in salt and continue to simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Spread on a sheet pan to cool or, rinse in cool water.
To a large salad bowl, add the cooled lentils, spinach, bell pepper, cucumber, parsley, feta cheese and cooled lentils. Drizzle dressing over the vegetables and lentils, then toss to combine. Add salt and black pepper, if desired.
Some people don’t see over-ripe, bruised fruits as having any potential. Not me! I see them as an opportunity! Case in point, I had a peach (leftover from my last post) and a banana sitting on my counter looking quite sad, but still viable. Knowing I needed to act fast, I did a little brainstorming and heeded the warning from my growling stomach, and decided upon a smoothie.
Luckily for me, it was fit the bill for what I was craving. I love the subtle flavor of the peach and the sweetness of the blueberries and banana. Adding the flax seed was a way to get some healthy fats and additional fiber in. And spinach just seems like an easy thing to add and I always enjoy the thought of drinking my spinach. For some reason, I think that’s fun. Yes, I am a little quirky like that.
I have to say it was a hit at my house. I enjoyed mine and had even more fun watching my 2 1/2 year old enjoy hers. So next time you see fruit on your counter and you’re considering tossing it, I challenge you to use it instead. Most fruits make a great base for smoothies, and if you happen to have a peach and banana lying around, try my recipe for Pe-anna-berry Smoothie!
Everyone has a favorite food, right? Mine just happens to be pizza. I mean, is there really another food that’s more perfect? Doughy crust, tangy, tomatoey (yup, I’m using that word) sauce, divine vegetables all topped with flavorful, umami-bursting cheese? Yes, please!!! Thus, the birth of the caramelized onion and fennel pizza.
As a food-lover, it’s a dish that constantly pleases me. From the myriad of toppings to the simplicity of a delicious pizza crust, it’s an ever-evolving food that can surprise, yet also elicit the feeling of familiarity and comfort. The dietitian in me, loves that pizza is the perfect platform for the wide assortment of delicious, nutritious foods out there. The combinations of those foods is almost limitless. I love whole wheat pizza dough topped with wild mushrooms or an array of broccoli, tomatoes, onions and peppers. Heck, you can even put fruit on top or what about grilled barbecue chicken or Thai-style pizza with cilantro, jalapenos, carrots and peanuts? See what I mean?
I’m always trying new things on my pizza and since I happened to have some extra fennel laying around, I decided to try that on my pizza. Caramelizing it with some onion, brought out a delicious sweet flavor and tasted amazing with fresh tomatoes and spinach. It turned out to be a winning combination that even my 2 1/2 year old loves. Try it now and let me know what you think!
Coat a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray, remove dough from packaging and place inside. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and rest on the counter while you prepare the caramelized onions and fennel.
Preheat the oven to 420’F and place the rack in the lowest setting of the oven. (Don’t skip this pre-heating step! It’s important that your oven is nice and warm before putting your pizza in there! If you have a pizza stone, use it!)
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel. Cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to low and cover with a lid or foil. Cook until onion and fennel are tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 more minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt.
To make the pizza
Dust your counter or other clean work surface lightly with flour (any flour will do). Remove dough from the bowl and place on your work surface. Using a rolling pin or your hands, shape dough into a 12-inch circle.
Transfer dough to a piece of parchment paper. Spread the pizza sauce over the crust and top with the spinach, caramelized onions and fennel, tomatoes and the cheese. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
Keep the pizza on the parchment and either transfer it to the oven directly onto a pizza stone or set it on an inverted cookie sheet before placing in the oven.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust turns golden brown.