I never like to eat the same meal two days in a row. Since I’ve already filled you in on my little love affair with oatmeal (see my post on Baked Blackberry Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal), you might be wondering how a woman who eats the same hot cereal for breakfast every morning dares to make such a claim.
Allow me to explain. The foundations of my meals are pretty consistent–fruit, nuts (or nut butter), and grains for breakfast; tofu, veggies, and grains for lunch; beans, grains, and more veggies for dinner. I am a creature of habit. What can I say? I add variety to my diet by constantly changing the combinations of fruits and vegetables I use, making new dressings, sauces, and marinades, and turning my usual lentil and brown rice dinner salad into a hearty stew or spicy curry in the wintertime. And I eat plenty of different snacks. (Smoothie and energy bar recipes coming soon!) Because I build variety into my daily meals, I never get bored, and I don’t feel deprived of anything–not meat, eggs, or cheese, and definitely, definitely not gluten.
This afternoon, as I was browsing for ideas on how to transform my usual tofu and quinoa lunch staples, I came across this little gem on Epicurious: Mustard-Crusted Pork with Carrots and Lentils. It got me thinking. Not about mustard-crusted pork, of course. About a lentil and carrot salad. So into the kitchen I went, and today, for the first time in weeks, I broke with my routine. That’s right, I went rogue. You won’t find any quinoa or tofu in this flavorful little salad. But you will find millet, a grain I don’t use every day, some fresh, sweet baby carrots, and crunchy, roasted walnuts. And no added oils. A simple, delicious, and healthy break from tradition.
Lentil and Millet Salad with Carrots and Roasted Walnuts
1/4 cup brown or green lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced (I’m Italian. I like a lot of garlic. Feel free to use less, if you like.)
2 -3 tbsp chopped onion
4 baby carrots, quartered
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
lemon juice (optional. For serving.)
1 tbsp chopped, roasted walnuts (Recipe follows.)
1/2 cup cooked millet (See tip #4 of my Tips for Using Gluten-Free Grains on portion sizes. I prepare millet using 1 part dry millet to 3 parts liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-25 min.)
Bring lentils and 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add garlic, onion, Dijon mustard, thyme, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add carrots, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 min., or until lentils are fork-tender. Let cool for 2-3 min. Once the lentil mixture has cooled slightly, add cooked millet and roasted walnuts. Sprinkle with lemon juice, toss, and serve. (If you want to use a bit of olive oil, add it at then end to toss and serve.)
Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with a single layer of unsalted walnut halves/pieces. (I typically roast 1 cup or so at a time and store them in an airtight container in my refrigerator for future use.) Roast for 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. **Once they start to become fragrant, after about 4-5 min., keep a close eye on them. They can burn quickly.