In recent years, a lot of people have given up eating soy bean and soy products because often they use genetically modified soy seeds and also because soy bean crops are sprayed with a heavy dose of pesticides. Although I have been trying to avoid Genetically Modified Foods and eat a much healthier diet, I have not abandoned soy as yet. I try to avoid the pitfalls of using unhealthy soy by using only organically grown soy. I love tofu (yes, I know I know, I lot of you may find that weird, but I actually love the taste and texture of tofu – especially if it is extra firm tofu) and try to include it in my diet at least a couple of times each week. So today I used tofu in a salad along with another recent favorite of mine – lentils!
Those of you who are regular readers of my blog may know that I have been experimenting with having a low-gluten diet. I wish I could completely remove it from my diet but somehow I just can’t entirely remove bread from my diet. I suppose it is the result of having a weak will-power but I just can’t resist fresh baked breads! But I have been able to at least substantially reduce my wheat intake. The result of this has been that I have been a real fan of beans and lentils – they are filling, taste good and contain healthy amounts of carbs and protein. I have taken to using lentils in soups, in pilafs and today I made a lentil and tofu salad. I added colorful sweet peppers and some fried Brussels sprouts and fried shallots for some extra crunch. Also I add some fresh herbs from my yard (a few sprigs of mint, apple mint, chives, dill and thyme) that gave the salad a lot of flavor and freshness.
1. 1 cup of dry lentils
2. 2 shallots
3. 20 Brussels sprouts
4. 8-10 small sweet bell peppers
5. A couple of sprigs of mint or apple-mint
6. A few stalks of chives
7. A couple of sprigs of dill
8. A couple of sprigs of thyme
9. 2 cloves of garlic
10. 3 tablespoons of Greek Yogurt
11. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
12. 3 tablespoons of honey
13. ½ teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper
14. Salt to taste
15. Juice of one lemon
16. ½ lb of extra firm Organic Tofu
17. 1.5 cups of cooking oil for deep frying
1. In a medium sized sauce-pan pour two cups of water and the lentils and start cooking them over low heat.
2. While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil meant for frying in a small sauce pan.
6. Deep fry the chopped Brussels sprouts (in the same oil in which you fried the shallots) until they are slightly browned and crunchy. Also place the fried Brussels sprouts on another dry paper towel to drain off their oil.
8. Heat one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a medium sized sauté pan and place the tofu pieces in the pan over low to medium heat. We just have to cook the tofu till it is a bit browned on both the sides. So after 5-6 minutes of cooking them on one side, flip them over with a pair of tongs. When they are cooked set them aside.
11. When the lentil is cooked, drain any excess water and place it in a shallow serving pan.
12. Sprinkle the juice of ½ lemon, some salt, ½ teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper and one tablespoon of honey over the lentil. Stir everything gently.
15. To make the yogurt dressing, combine the following ingredients in a bowl – two grated cloves of garlic, two tablespoons of honey, 2 teaspoons of dried mint, some salt (to taste), 3 tablespoons of Greek Yogurt and the juice of half a lemon. Add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the dressing.
16. Gently spread out the yogurt dressing over the salad.