Crunchy and chewy, tangy and sweet, this fiber- and protein-rich lunch travels well and sticks with you all afternoon.  French green lentils and short-grain brown rice are idea for salads because they hold their shape and don’t get mushy when dressed.  If you can’t find them, brown lentils and long-grain rice will also work.

Lentil and brown rice salad with dried cranberries and orange

Yield:  Makes about 7 cups

1 c. short grain brown rice, rinsed and drained

1 c. French green lentils, rinsed and picked over

2 navel oranges

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 c.)

1 handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

3/4 c. dried cranberries

3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground, black pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, cover rice with cold water by at least 2 inches and season lightly with salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until rice is just tender, about 40 minutes.  Drain well and set aside.

In a separate saucepan, cover lentils with 2 inches of cold water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until lentils are just tender, 15-18 minutes.  Drain well and set aside.

Wash and dry one of the oranges and finely grate its zest into a large mixing bowl.  Peel and segment both oranges, chop the segments, and add them to the bowl.  (The best way to do this is to first slice off the top and bottom, then stand the orange on one of the flat ends.  Following the contour of the fruit and cutting just deep enough to remove most of the outer membrane (but not too much of the fruit), trim off the peel in strips, top to bottom.  When all the peel is removed, hold the orange over the mixing bowl (to catch dripping juice) and cut in toward the center of the fruit on either side of each membrane to remove the orange segments.  Once all segments have been removed, squeeze any remaining juice from the membranes into the bowl.)

Add celery, shallots, parsley, cranberries, vinegar, and oil to the bowl.  Fold in drained rice and lentils.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve at room temperature.

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