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Bean, Grain and Green Salads

3 ingredients that add up to healthy and delicious one-dish meals

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En español | There are bean salads, grain salads and green salads, and then there are the exceptional salads that incorporate all three — beans, grains and greens — into one fresh, satisfying complete meal. These salads not only are pretty to look at and fun to eat but also are easy to make.

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Pasta Lentil Salad, Recipe by Pam Anderson

In this bean, grain and green salad, bowtie pasta, lentil and arugula combine with tomatoes and red onion, resulting in a fun, healthy meal. —

Follow the recipes below, or use them to get ideas for building your own bean, grain and green salads. Include what you've got in your own kitchen, what's in season or what your palate craves. There's no need to add protein. The bean-and-grain combo in each salad means the protein is complete.

Use a simple formula: Pick a bean and cook a grain — you'll need a generous four cups total. After that, choose a vegetable or two, or fresh fruit. Add optional flavors — intense ingredients such as olives, capers, potent cheeses or dried fruit.

Herbs are optional, too. I've included one in each recipe, but the salads are tasty enough without them. Every good salad needs a little onion, though. You can use scallions — both white and green parts — or red onions, which are nice for color.

Dress these salads simply with just olive oil, salt, pepper and an acid such as vinegar, lemon or lime juice. You can also toss them with your favorite vinaigrette.

Give these recipes a try and I hope you soon will be creating your own.

Bowtie, Lentil and Arugula Salad With Tomatoes and
Red Onion

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 to 8 as a side dish

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) uncooked bowtie pasta
  • 1 medium-large tomato, cut into small dice
  • 1 medium-large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 medium red onion (about 1/2 cup) sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cups packed arugula (or other baby lettuces)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Bring 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of water to boil in a large saucepan or small Dutch oven over high heat. Add lentils and a sprinkling of salt; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add pasta and return to a boil; continue to cook until lentils and pasta are just tender, about 10 minutes longer. Drain and turn onto a rimmed baking sheet; cool.

Meanwhile, dice tomato, grate carrot, slice onion and chop basil, then add these ingredients, along with the lentils and pasta, to a large bowl. Add oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper; toss to coat. Drizzle with vinegar; toss to coat again. Adjust seasonings and serve.

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