Farmers Markets and gardens are bursting with tomatoes this time of year. Fresh tomatoes are a tasty addition to seasonal salads, and this recipe includes a base of brown rice and lentils to make it a satisfying main dish. Cooking the rice and lentils in advance allows quick preparation for a healthy week night dinner. Here are three fun facts about tomatoes:
- Colder temperatures slow down the ripening process, so store ripe tomatoes in the refrigerator. If you want them to ripen, store at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Storing in a brown paper bag with a banana speeds the ripening even further.
- Tomatoes are rich in anti-oxidants and help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, especially prostate cancer and breast cancer.
- Tomatoes are native to South America and were first cultivated in Mexico, likely by the Aztecs.
Tomato & Lentil Salad
- 1 lemon, juiced (or 3 tbsp. of lemon juice)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- salt / pepper, to taste
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups spinach or arugula (or both!), roughly chopped
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable of broth
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 cup dry green lentils
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Bring 1 cup water and broth to a boil in a saucepan over high heat
- Add the rice, cover, and simmer over medium / low heat for about 30 minutes, until all liquid has been absorbed
- While rice is cooking, place lentils in a different saucepan with 1.5 cups of water over medium heat and cover
- Let the lentils simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain lentils and allow them to cool
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice and lentils.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and garlic in a small bowl
- Pour the dressing over the lentils and rice in the big bowl
- Add the cherry tomatoes
- Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour
- Before servings, gently stir in feta cheese and spinach (or arugula) and then enjoy!
Question for you: Do you have a favorite recipe with fresh tomatoes? Please share in the comments or post a photo to my Facebook page!