Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad

Monday, July 14, 2014

Before last week, my perception of eating vegan was very different. I had a vivid memory of a trip I took when in college with two of my friends to visit my friend's friends, who I didn't know. I wasn't very comfortable there, and the morning before we left our host made us vegan waffles. They were awful. My then-roommate and I still laugh thinking about them. When we had finished one, the host asked us if we wanted some jam, and we said please, doused our second one in it, but it still just wasn't good. Every time someone tells me they're vegan, I wonder why they'd choose a lifestyle with those waffles. 

But this past week of eating vegan has been so nice. I don't feel heavy after eating, and I was worried I wouldn't have energy, but I feel good. On Saturday Brian and I made this chili, and even though he refuses to consider the thought of letting go of meat, at a vegan restaurant last night he had tempeh tacos, and they got two thumbs up. Perhaps most surprising has been this sweet potato and lentil salad I made for a girls night on Friday. I paired it with a Chardonnay, and the girls loved it. And I did, too (maple syrup and mustard dressing, who would have thought?). I could do this vegan thing for a lot longer than two weeks, and I just might.


For salad (makes two large servings our four side servings):
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (+ more for sautéing) 
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked green lentils
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 orange pepper, chopped
Couple handfuls spinach, chopped 

For dressing:
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into a 1-inch dice. In a bowl mix with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, cook the lentils in a pot with 2 cups of broth over medium heat. 

Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Add into a skillet with some olive oil (~1/2 tablespoon?) to coat the pan. Cook over low-medium heat being careful not to burn, for about 5 minutes. Now add in the chopped pepper and spinach and cook for another 5 minutes on low. When the lentils and sweet potatoes are cooked, add them into this skillet mixture and stir. 

Mix your dressing and stir into the skillet mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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