Happy National Spinach Day!
Who knew? I certainly wouldn’t have, were it not for an email alert from one of the Health websites to which I subscribe (I love that I was alerted about spinach). Almost every day is a spinach day on my menu–I stuff it into blueberry smoothies, layer it in sandwiches and wraps, scramble it into eggs and tofu, stir it in to ready-made soups (my own, or purchased–an easy way to up the nutrition with virtually no effort), and, much to Kevin & Nick’s horror, munch on it–plain– as a snack.
But today it takes a starring role in a protein and antioxidant -packed salad made with lentils and roasted sweet potato wedges.
This was an impromptu salad, and both ingredients and instructions are minimal. But the flavors belie the simplicity of the prep and ingredients. It heralds fresh spinach with flair and the arrival of spring, but it’s still cozy enough for March (it was chilly today!).
I used black lentils here (sometimes called Beluga lentils because they look like caviar), but brown lentils or green lentils will work, too. Don’t use split red or yellow lentils, though; they are great for soups and dips, because they fall apart, but in this salad, you want whole lentils that will keep their shape.
Marrying the lentils, sweet potatoes and spinach is a whole grain mustard and maple dressing; a little bit goes long way!
You’ll be hard-pressed to find more delicious, nutritious, and satisfying salad recipe than this simple ensemble of ingredients. Happy eats!
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup dried black lentils, rinsed (green or brown also work)
- 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 3-inch, slender wedges
- Nonstick cooking spray (preferably olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
- fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
- 4 cups packed spinach
- Optional: ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil over high heat. Add lentils, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain and let cool to room temperature.
- While lentils cook, preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Gently toss to coat. Roast in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Let cool to room temperature in pan.
- In a covered jar, combine olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup and mustard. Seal and vigorously shake to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, gently toss together the spinach, optional dill, lentils, sweet potatoes and dressing.