This week, the first sign of flowers and leaves put me into full Spring mode. My meals have been fresher than ever and I’m feeling on fire energy wise.
It’s about time!
The hot yoga sessions are also helping tremendously. (Thank you, by the way, for your great comments yesterday.) I’ve been to 4 hot yoga sessions now and you could pretty much say that I’m addicted. But, more on that later.
[We need to mow the lawn and weed the garden! eek…it begins]
Yesterday, I was craving an old favourite- the Protein Power Goddess Bowl that I adapted from The Coup Cookbook. I’ve been smitten with this salad since I made it last year and the tahini-Lemon dressing is just to die for!
My mission yesterday was simple: To lighten up this salad for Spring.
I wouldn’t call this salad heavy per say, but I was never crazy about the 1/2 cup of olive oil that the original recipe calls for. I knew with a bit of work, I could create a lighter Tahini dressing that would taste just as tempting as the original.
This hearty recipe is inspired by a vegetarian restaurant called The Coup in Calgary, Alberta. A rich, tangy lemon-tahini sauce coats chewy French green lentils, spelt berries, and crunchy vegetables. I suggest serving a couple spoonfuls of this recipe on top of a salad or alongside crackers and hummus—a little bit goes a long way.
For the goddess bowl:
- 1 cup uncooked French green lentils (2 to 2 3/4 cups cooked)
- 1 cup uncooked spelt berries or wheat berries (2 cups cooked)
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium or large red onion, chopped
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved or 1 large tomato, chopped
- 3 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
- 1 batch Lemon-Tahini Dressing
- Fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Chopped green onion and lemon zest, to garnish (optional)
For the Lemon-Tahini Dressing:
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) tahini
- 3 to 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast, to taste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons (15 to 20 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Soak the spelt berries in a bowl of water overnight, or for at least 8 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Add the drained spelt berries into a medium pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a low boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until tender, but still chewy. Drain excess water.
- Rinse and drain the lentils. Add to a medium pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until tender, but still a bit chewy. French lentils will hold their shape beautifully and won't break down like regular green or brown lentils. Drain well.
- Prepare the Lemon-Tahini Dressing: Mince the garlic in a mini food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large skillet or pot, add the oil, onion, and garlic, along with a pinch of salt. Stir. Sauté over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion softens.
- Stir in the chopped red pepper and tomato and sauté for another 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add the spinach, cooked spelt berries and lentils, and stir to combine. Sauté until just wilted. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Stir in all of the Lemon-Tahini Dressing, and the fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with chopped green onion and lemon zest on top, if desired. This salad is lovely served on top of a leafy green salad, or you can serve it with hummus and crackers on the side too.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
Lightening up the Tahini-Lemon dressing was a huge success! I cut down the oil by 75% and the dressing still tasted wonderful.
Here are the changes I made to the lightened up version:
- I added another garlic clove (to make 3) (to add more flava!)
- I added 2-3 more tbsp water (to thin it out more)
I was worried the taste would be compromised but it was just as addicting like I remembered. Even if you don’t want to make this lentil salad, you could always make the dressing and use it for salads all week long. It is truly one of my most loved homemade dressings to date.
Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing
Adapted from Tahini-Lemon Dressing.
Yield: Just under 1 cup of dressing
- 1/4 cup Tahini
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 1/4 cup Nutritional yeast or a bit more, to taste
- 2-4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- 1 tsp kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 3 tbsp water, or as needed
1. In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until smooth. Makes just under 1 cup.
Once you cook your desired grains and make the dressing, you simply sauté some vegetables of your choice until tender.
Yesterday, I added Lacinato Kale instead of spinach and I loved it! It’s less bitter than regular kale.
Mix in your grains and dressing.
When it’s all cooked, remove from heat and stir in the minced Parsley for another kick of fresh flavour.
Taste test… Uncontrollably!
Serve with a lemon wedge and zest and you have yourself a protein and fibre packed dinner! It’s creamy & comforting, with a tangy kick that is just irresistible.
This will definitely be my go-to version of this salad from now on. We didn’t miss the 6 tablespoons of oil at all.
Have a good one!