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When fall tastes like summer

October 31, 2010

My girlfriend Krista and I both love to try new recipes and have taken to getting together every three or four weeks to share a dinner of new recipes. These dinners started out as a traditional meal with soup or salad, main and side dish and dessert.  After a couple of years we decided that there are too many recipes to try and too little time.  So, we’ve evolved our dinners into more of a tapas or small plates approach, each of us making two or three recipes that we’d like to sample, without regard for how everything pairs.  This salad is the result of one of these dinners and was inspired by the Hearty Harvest Salad in Clean Eating Magazine, September 2010 newsletter.

I don’t know about you, but I fire up the grill year round so, even though it’s fall here and the evenings are getting pretty cool, the opportunity to add grilled vegetables to a salad is too good to pass up.  It brings a bit of a taste of summer into a fall dinner.   The hurdle in this recipe is the two ears of fresh sweet corn.  There is no such thing in late October.  Trader Joe’s to the rescue with their beautiful frozen, fire roasted corn that has no preservatives or additives. 


Hearty Harvest Salad

1 1/2 cups black lentils
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips
1 medium yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips
1 1/2 cups roasted sweet corn (thawed if using frozen or, about 2 ears if using fresh roasted corn)
2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

Rinse lentils then combine with 4 cups water in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to boil then reduce head and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender.  Drain and place in a large bowl.  These can be prepared ahead and chilled.  (I was in a hurry and used two 8 oz. packages of Trader Joe’s pre-cooked Black Beluga Lentils, rinsed.)

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the vegetable broth, champagne vinegar, dijon mustard and honey.  Slowly wisk in the olive oil then set aside. 

Preheat the grill to medium high.  Toss the zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes with about 2 tbsp of the vinegarette, reserving the remaining to use to dress the completed salad.  Grill the vegetables, turning once, until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes for the tomatoes and 5 – 7  minutes for the zucchini and yellow squash.  Remove from grill and let cool slightly then cut the zucchini and yellow squash crosswise into bite size pieces.

Add zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and corn to the lentils, pour vinegarette over and toss gently to combine.   

Just before serving, sprinkle with the feta cheese.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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