Happy Labor Day! Hopefully a weekend full of picnicking under the summer sun is on the horizon for you! I loooove an excuse to eat outdoors. We are going through a major heat wave in SoCal right now, and the last thing I want to do is make any food that requires the kitchen to heat up. And quite frankly, not having AC in my home is an easy cop-out reason for me to spend all day at the beach or pool. #silverlining
So what’s a girl to do when she wants some good eats but can’t take the heat? Enter the clean-out-the-fridge-salad party. You know how it goes. Standing there in the kitchen, taking inventory over the random assortment of perishable food, wondering what to make. Cursing the day you went to the grocery store on an empty stomach and decided to buy *all the things*.
I get overzealous at the store sometimes, buying ingredients on a whim, hoping to experiment with them and make some new recipe. But then life gets more complicated and full, and you find yourself with a bundle of food from last week’s Meal Prep Day: beets, some lentils, and a few good and ripe figs. Cue inner monologue where you wonder what would happen if you just threw it all together and called it a day. #relatable
On this particular occasion, the “throw it all in a bowl” technique paid off and produced this magical salad. For the purpose of avoiding a long, complex recipe title, we’re sticking with Lentil+Fig Chopped Veggie Salad. Lentils and figs, I would say, are the highlight of this salad. The “chopped veggies” portion is where your creativity (or the “hey I forgot about that bunch of radishes” resourcefulness) comes into play.
Feel free to use whatever fruits/ vegetables you have on hand. Roasted cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, blackberries, apples, whatchu got? If you can chop it and toss it, it will probably work fabulously in this salad. It’s just a fun, easy way to use up your produce and make sure it doesn’t go to waste. Ya feel?
And because I’m boujee, I can imagine taking this salad in a little bento box for lunch along the Seine in Paris. It has major French vibes. Simple, light, and full of flavor from the fresh ingredients themselves. A touch of tangy mustard and olive oil dressing to top it all off, and this salad is ready to carry you all the way through the end of the summer.
Real quick though, let’s talk lentils- I feel like they are quite under-appreciated. High fiber, a good source of protein, folic acid, and iron, to name a few nutrients. They are a fab source of many minerals, too- copper, molybdenum, phosphorus, manganese… all packaged in a nice little legume! Lentils are so much more than an ingredient in a soup; they are a nutrition powerhouse and are an idealllll addition to a salad.
To make the salad even more filling as a stand-alone meal, a protein like hardboiled eggs, tuna, or salmon would be perfect to round out the dish. Spread out the picnic blanket, open the chilled rosé, and serve up this tres chic, no-fail salad.
Lentil+ Fig+Chopped Veggie Salad
For the salad:
6 cups greens (I used a mix of arugula, spinach, and swiss chard)
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup cooked beets
1 cup figs, halved
1 cup chopped sweet peppers
1 cup chopped heirloom tomato
Sesame seeds and hemp seeds, for garnish
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard
In a large salad bowl, combine greens, lentils, beets, figs, sweet peppers, and tomato, tossing gently. to make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl, whisking until emulsified. Pour dressing over salad and toss again. To serve, sprinkle sesame seeds and hemp seeds over the salad for garnish (and some extra nutrition!) Bon appetit!
How are you spending Labor Day Weekend? My plan is to spend time outside with good friends and good food. Simple, but so meaningful. Have a fab weekend!