Friday, March 21, 2008

Black Bean and Lentil Salad Recipe with Red Bell Pepper, Cumin, and Cilantro

Black Bean and Lentil SaladThis salad with black beans and lentils is something I used to include on nearly every menu back in the days when I organized catered houseboat trips at Utah's Lake Powell. I used brown lentils in those days, but now that food bloggers have tipped me off about the small green French lentils which hold their shape a little better in a dish like this, I prefer using the green French lentils in the salad. At Lake Powell I would have served this as a side dish with something like grilled chicken or fish, or it could be a good vegetarian main dish.

In the Lake Powell days I had barely discovered cilantro, which is something my friends now probably find hard to imagine. Nearly twenty years ago I wrote a little self-published cookbook of Lake Powell favorite recipes. The recipe for this salad listed parsley as an ingredient, and years later I had crossed out the word "parsley" in my one remaining copy and put "cilantro." Of course my love of cilantro is now well documented, but I've also learned there's a good reason some people don't like it. A poster on Chowhound suggests celery leaves can substitute for cilantro if you have a cilantro-hater in your midst, which sounds interesting. This week's host for Weekend Herb Blogging is Katie of Thyme for Cooking, who isn't a big cilantro fan, although she's giving it a try lately. (Katie, you can use celery leaves if you make this salad, and I promise I won't take it personally.)

Black Bean and Lentil Salad with Red Bell Pepper, Cumin, and Cilantro
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)

1 cup (about 1/2 pound) lentils (I used green French lentils but you can use ordinary brown lentils)
1 can black beans
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion (scallions) green part only
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing:
2 T olive oil
2 T chicken stock
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 T fresh lime juice (can use apple cider vinegar)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. finely minced garlic (I used garlic puree from a jar)
1/2 tsp. dried Oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
1 tsp. cumin seed (can use ground cumin)
1/2 tsp. Ancho chile powder (or use any mild chile powder)
1/2 tsp. Spike seasoning (or more)
fresh ground pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste (I used green Tabasco sauce)

Put lentils into a small sauce pan with plenty of water to cover, bring to a slow simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 40-60 minutes for green lentils or 30-40 minutes for brown ones. Drain lentils and let cool slightly.

While lentils cook, put beans in a colander and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears. Let drain well, then blot dry with paper towels.

Put olive oil, chicken stock, Dijon mustard, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic in a small bowl. In mortar and pestle, grind together oregano, cumin seed, chile powder, Spike seasoning, and pepper. Whisk into liquid in bowl, then add hot sauce to taste and whisk again.

When lentils are slightly cooled, combine with half of dressing and let marinate while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Wash, spin dry, and finely chop cilantro and set aside. Chop red bell pepper, red onion, and green part of green onions finely and add to lentils. Add drained beans to lentil and vegetable mixture, and stir in rest of dressing, then gently mix in chopped cilantro. This will taste best if refrigerated for an hour or so before serving, but it can be served sooner if you're short on time.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach and Low Glycemic Suggestions:
Salad like this with low-glycemic black beans and lentils are great for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any low-glycemic eating plan.

More Cilantro-Loving Recipes from Kalyn's Kitchen:
Grilled Halibut with Garlic Cilantro Sauce
Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad
Black Bean and Beef Chili with Cilantro, Lime, and Avocado Salsa
Chipotle and Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Double Cilantro
Black Bean and Rice Soup with Cilantro and Lime

Cilantro Love from Other Blogs:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Skirt Steak with Cilantro Garlic Sauce from Serious Eats
Bok Choy with Peanuts and Cilantro from What Did You Eat
Steamed Chicken and Rice with Cilantro Pesto from Is It EDible
Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice from Mighty Foods
Peppery Shrimp with Cilantro Coconut Sauce from Talk of Tomatoes

Want even more recipes?
I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.
counter customizable free hit

19 comments:

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I don't look forward to the 100°s of summer but I do look forward to the cool bean salads like this one. Black beans and la Puy Lentils are perfect! Thanks Kalyn!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Celery leaves are a great idea for winter, when good parsley is hard to find in the market. Of course I'm a bit spoiled by having my own great parsley in the herb garden, and I seldom buy it in the winter. This salad looks like a great vegetarian main dish or picnic dish.

katiez said...

I actually bought cilantro seeds and I'm adding them to my herb garden. Since I usually eat what i grow that will be added incentive.
And, if all else fails, I'll try the celery leaves...which I love!
I also love the sounds of this dressing....

liberal foodie said...

this is a fabulous way to use lentils and beans! thank you for sharing!

elkit said...

Cilantro tastes like shoes to someone???!!! Heck, I wish my shoes tasted like cilantro. I'd eat them.

Erin S. said...

This looks fab Kalyn--I was needing inspiration for "school" lunches and this will be great. I'll make a big batch on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week. By the way, regarding your comment last week--I can't believe you only get ONE DAY OFF!! I'm so sorry!

Maria said...

Lots of protein and flavor in this one!! Great recipe, thanks!

Neen said...

MMM, I love black beans and have been looking for more ways to use them now that the season for heavy winter soups is drawing to a close. Thanks for the inspiration!

Peter M said...

Blogs are alive with lentils! They seem to pair well with oregano, eh?

sher said...

That's a wonderful looking salad, Kalyn. The mix of ingredients is perfect. I can picture eating that on a houseboat at lake Powell.

Kalyn said...

I'm glad people are liking this recipe. Hope everyone is having a nice Easter weekend. I'm definitely going to try something seasoned with celery leaves. (And I did manage to take one extra day off Erin, so at least I'm getting a four day weekend.)

Wish we were all at Lake Powell right now!

Simona said...

Interesting substitution, certainly. A very nice salad: it makes me think of summer evenings, not sure why.

Anonymous said...

this looks like a delicious lunch!!

Rich said...

Gotta love lime in something like this. I've made something similar in the past with black beans and corn, but haven't tried black beans and lentils combined before. I shall have to, once the Easter culinary explosion is past. :-) Thanks!

Laurie Constantino said...

This recipe made me laugh with delight. I've made similar salads just with black beans, and similar salads just with lentils, but I've never paired the two in a single dish. Great idea!

Mimi said...

Ooh! Except for fresh cilantro, I have all the ingredients on hand, including lentils I bought in Paris. I could make this!

What a great idea - I share your love of cilantro!

Flanboyant Eats said...

absolutely wonderful!!! cumin is my all-time fave!!! good for you!

Cecily Connell said...

Hi Kalyn, just was curious as to what the serving size is... says it makes 4-6 servings but not sure of the measurement.

Btw made this for a birthday dinner and it was enjoyed by vegetarian and meat eaters alike, huge crowd pleaser! Thank you

Kalyn Denny said...

I don't measure out servings, so if you're calculating nutritional info you'll have to estimate whether you ate 1/4 or 1/6 of the salad.

Blogging tips