• 4

    Servings

  • Gluten-free

  • Nut-free

  • Prep Time 40'

  • Total Time 45'

Fennel and lentil salad with amaranth seed oil and mint dressing recipe

  • 4

    Servings

  • Gluten-free

  • Nut-free

  • Prep Time 40'

  • Total Time 45'

One of my favourite things about cooking is the creativity, I get to make things up as I go. There are certain meals that you must follow to a T, but I usually make and post about recipes that you can add your own twist to. With the right ingredients, you can always come up with something delicious. I find that my best creations come from the times when I had to improvise. The kitchen is a place where I can relax. There is something so satisfying about envisioning a dish, bringing it to life and getting to share it with you.

Salads are a great canvas. By knowing about your ingredients, you can put together something that is flavorsome and satisfying. The key to salads is to make them exciting and filling. This takes a little practice but I will help you get started! Most of my favourite salads have been inspired by ingredients I have on hand or leftovers in my fridge! I am not a fan of wasting food, so I get excited when I can repurpose what I have into something new.

When making a salad as a dish, it’s important to incorporate all the essential elements – proteins, fibre, healthy fats, and greens. Meals are meant to nourish your body and keep you fuelled. There is nothing worse than eating something that leads to cravings and hunger just a couple hours after. My salads must hold me over, I am talking at least three to four hours!

Sweet potatoes contain good carbohydrates, the kind that will boost our energy without spiking our blood sugar. Those nasty cravings are a result of a spike in our blood sugar, so we want to avoid this whenever possible. Healthy fats come from the dressing. Healthy fats or, lipids, are essential for our bodies to function. We rely on fats for basic functions such as breathing and protecting our organs. Adding greens to any meal, especially a salad, should be a no-brainer. Greens are a major source of iron and calcium, very critical to a plant-based diet. Health wise, it is always better to use unprocessed and unrefined oils in your dressing, they are full of vitamins and nutrients! I love to use Erbology Organic Amaranth Seed Oil.

Why is amaranth seed oil good for you?

Made from cold-pressed amaranth seeds, Erbology Organic Amaranth Seed Oil has a strong nutty aroma and taste. Perfect for dressings, amaranth oil complements vegetables and blends well with other liquids.

Erbology Organic Amaranth Seed Oil is rich in squalene. Squalene is produced naturally in our bodies as a precursor to cholesterol but goes down with age. Squalene can also be found in oils such as palm oil and olive oil but in much lower quantities.

When squalene and water fuse, oxygen is released and transported to our cells. It is also found in the outer layer of the skin, where it plays a role in protecting against UV radiation. It acts as a natural moisturizer, protects us from damaging free radicals and brings out the glow in our skin. The vitamin E in amaranth oil also helps smooth visible wrinkles.

Amaranth seed oil is also an active anti-cancer substance. Studies have shown that the combination of doxorubicin (a common chemotherapy drug) and squalene increased anti-cancer activity (1).

The health benefits of eating more lentils

Lentils have been a diet staple for years and years, they happen to be one of the oldest cultivated legumes. People use them all around the world today because they are tasty and extremely nutritious! Lentils are rich in fibre, protein, iron, potassium and vitamin B6.

Lentils are one of the few alkalizing legumes. We need to include alkalizing foods in our diets in order to balance the pH levels in our bodies, ideally this is somewhere right around 7.4. At this level, our blood is able to effectively transport oxygen and other vital nutrients for optimal functioning. When pH is balanced, our energy levels tend to be higher and we also see improvements in the quality of our hair, skin and nails (2).

Lentils are a source of filling fibre. 100g of lentils can fulfill nearly a third of our daily fibre recommendation (3). They contain both insoluble and soluble fibre, satisfying your hunger and helping you stay full. Lentils have also been studied to support heart health, digestive system and immune function by carrying waste, excess fat and toxins out of the body.

Lentils are considered to be amongst the best plant-based protein sources. In a serving of 100g, almost a fifth comes from protein (3). This ends up being equivalent to eating around three eggs! Protein is a macronutrient and our body needs an adequate supply of it. We must have protein to build our bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Protein is an important component of almost every cell.

The thing is, our bodies do not store protein. We must eat protein-rich food in order to replenish our protein supply, but not as much as many would believe. When it comes to protein, it is quality over quantity. Lentils are one of the best alkalized protein sources out there.

Lentils provide a great source of vitamins and minerals that are sometimes harder to find in a plant-based diet. The same 100g serving of cooked lentils can provide about a fifth of your daily iron recommendation and 10% of both your daily potassium and vitamin B6 recommendation (3). Iron helps to deliver enough oxygen to our oxygen-carrying red blood cells and keep us energized. Potassium helps with fluid balance, nerve signalling and muscle contractions. All the B vitamins are important in maintaining a healthy metabolism, nervous system and liver. Vitamin B, in particular, helps us move, think, expend energy and keeps our blood flowing.

Written By: Danielle Bear

 

(1) Maksimenko, A, et al. “A Unique Squalenoylated and Nonpegylated Doxorubicin Nanomedicine with Systemic Long-Circulating Properties and Anticancer Activity.”Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Jan. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24385587.

(2) Overall, Best Diets. “Acid Alkaline Diet .” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, health.usnews.com/best-diet/acid-alkaline-diet.

(3) “Daily Value Reference of the Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD).” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov/dsld/dailyvalue.jsp.

Ingredients

Dressing:
  • ¼ cup Erbology Organic Amaranth Seed Oil
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • pinch of sichuan pepper
  • pinch of dried chilli pepper
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
 
Salad:
  • 1 1/2 cup lentils
  • 4 washed sweet potatoes
  • 5 handfuls mixed green leaves of rocket
  • 2 medium fennel bulb
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill
  • ¼ red onion, marinated

Here's how you do it

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  2. Prepare the dressing by adding all the ingredients in a small bowl and stirring well. Keep 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice out for marinating the onions.
  3. Set dressing aside to infuse while you assemble the salad.
  4. Wrap the potatoes in aluminium foil and bake for 40 mins.
  5. Cook green lentils using 3 ½ cups water for 1 ½ cup dried lentils.
  6. Slice fennel into thick slices and grill with a pinch of salt.
  7. After lentils are cooked, strain the remaining water.
  8. Heat a frying pan with 1-2 tbsp olive oil, add chopped dill and cook for 3-4 mins. Set aside.
  9. Marinate your onions by slicing them thinly and putting in a bowl with the remaining lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and leave aside for about 5 minutes.
  10. Use a toothpick or fork to check the sweet potatoes. They are ready when soft in the middle.
  11. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into medium cubes.
  12. In a large bowl, add green leaves, cooked lentils, potato cubes, grilled fennel and marinated onion. Pour the dressing and stir gently. Assemble onto plates and serve. Bon appétit!

Tags

  • Alkalizing
  • Amaranth
  • Lentils
  • Salad
  • Spring recipes
  • Squalene
  • Vitamin E

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