23 December 2009

Eating healthy during the holidays

The holidays are a fun time for eating, but I sometimes feel like the plethora of sweets and baked goods can become overwhelming. At this moment, there are packages of Christmas cookies, presents of fudge and toffee, and the leftovers of two pies and a turkey dinner lurking in my kitchen. During the holiday season, it is easy to eat too much starchy and sugary food and forget to feed ourselves the veggies and fiber that our bodies need--and crave. When I came across the inspiration for this salad recipe in Bon Appetit (my version here is a bit different from the one in the magazine) I thought it would be a perfect winter salad that could serve as a main course for a veggie-focused lunch or supper. If you are like me, you will relish this healthy salad right about now!

With tons of fresh arugula (packing in isothiocyanate, a natural cancer-fighting chemical), protein- and fiber-rich lentils, and flavorful roasted yam "croutons," this salad will fill you up when you're hungry and leave you feeling fresh, cleansed, and full of energy. After happily munching on this salad for two suppers in one week, I realized this was a recipe to share with you! So here it is, my recipe for arugula salad with lentils, goat cheese, and spice-roasted yam croutons. Hope you all are enjoying a happy and healthy holiday season!

Arugula Salad with Lentils, Goat Cheese, and Spice-Roasted Yam Croutons

Serves 6

3/4 cup green lentils
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 lb. yam, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sea salt
6 cups baby arugula
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup thinly-sliced mint leaves
Favorite salad dressing (such as Bernstein's Restaurant Recipe Italian)

Cover lentils with cold water and soak 10 minutes, drain and rinse. Place in a medium saucepan along with the chopped onion and cook in boiling salted water until tender but firm, 30-60 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water, then drizzle with red wine vinegar.

Place cubed yam on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Mix together cumin, paprika, and sea salt, then sprinkle the spice mix over the yam cubes and toss to coat evenly. Roast at 375°F for about 20 minutes, until tender. Let cool.

Toss baby arugula with salad dressing, salt, and freshly-ground black pepper to taste. Divide arugula among plates and sprinkle with lentils, yams, goat cheese, and mint leaves.

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