If we all ate a vegetarian meal at least once a week, we’d help grow more food for people who need it while taking pressure off of the planet.
That’s because growing vegetables or beans uses far less water and land than raising animals, and reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions, too.
Jocelyn Ramirez’s recipe combines lentils, earthy herbs, crunchy jicama, and tahini citrus dressing for a hearty vegetarian meal.
Lentil Herb Salad
Contributed by chef Jocelyn Ramirez, Todo Verde
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed and strained
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 3/4 lbs jicama, ¼ inch dice
- 1/2 lb ripe Roma tomatoes, ¼ inch dice
- 1 bunch cilantro, minced
- 1 bunch parsley, minced
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- pinch chili flakes
- salt to taste
- pinch pepper
- 1/4 cup water, room temperature
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp brown sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 3 cilantro sprigs
For the Salad: Preheat a medium pot to medium heat. Add the lentils, water, oil, bay leaves, and salt into pot. Stir the mixture, and place a lid over the pot slightly ajar. Cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are tender. Strain the lentils, and allow to cool. Add the lentils to a medium bowl, and add the jicama, tomatoes, cilantro, and parsley. Slowly fold the ingredients together from the outside towards middle of the bowl to avoid cutting into the lentils.
For the Dressing: Add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, chili flakes, salt, pepper to a mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together until smooth. Add the room temperature water to loosen if necessary. Add the dressing to the salad and gently fold together. Serve in large dish and top with sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and a few sprigs of cilantro.
Additional options: If jicama is not available, you can substitute with a crunchy apple, sun chokes, or Asian pear. Use your favorite lentil variety. If you use different types of lentils, they may require different cooking times.
Yield: Serves 4
Credit: Jocelyn Ramirez, from Todo Verde
Jocelyn Ramirez is a plant-based chef, college professor, yoga instructor, and advocate for healthy food access. Jocelyn founded Todo Verde in 2015 with a mission to create delicious and healthy plant-based food inspired by her Mexican and South American roots for the Eastside Los Angeles community.