Strawberry, Feta, and Lentil Salad
For someone who HATES germs and carries two hand sanitizers around at all times, my home cleaning habits are not quite as predictable.
I don’t make my bed every day. In fact, I make it almost never. I clean my room whenever it suddenly hurts my soul to walk inside of it, which could be at any moment, and at any degree of messiness. Last week, I managed to wait a few days until about 33% of my floor was visible to cave. But today, I walked in at 9:30 PM super exhausted and almost lost it, even though my room wasn’t really that bad… There was a tiny stack of clean laundry that needed to be put away, a few shirts lying around that were rejects from this morning, an opened package from Amazon on my bed, and an empty coffee cup/bag of trail mix next to my stand from when I tried to stay awake while practicing at 4 PM. I would call this a pretty standard Sarah mess. But it all just REALLY NEEDED to go, and it needed to go RIGHT AWAY.
I also only clean my kitchen counters whenever they require it, which usually ends up being once or twice a week, or after I cook meat/fish. Or, let’s be real, whenever I find almond butter on them.
So honestly, I don’t know how my cleaning habits compare to other people’s. If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you my bathroom and floors need to get cleaned more often. But I’d like to think that for a single 20-something trying to juggle graduate school, working part time, and figuring out my life (that last part is NBD, though), I’m doing pretty OK on cleanliness. I could easily just throw stuff everywhere and not care, and never do dishes or clean my counters ever. So I guess you could say my apartment is a microcosm for my life – mostly organized with a good helping of (endearing?) frenzy.
I don’t usually do Spring cleaning, but this month, I tried a little. The Recipe ReDux theme was just that – we were encouraged to look in our pantry for things to get rid of, and make a dish out of them. I found a whole ton of lentils that were leftover from soup making this Winter (I made lentil soup so many times, I’m shocked I didn’t turn into one), so I decided to transform them into something a little more summery. I also threw in a bunch of produce from the fridge that needed to be used up.
Salads for me are typically difficult to make at home during the week unless I prep a bunch of veggies ahead of time, because the assembly and clean-up can be time consuming. But when you hav e a bunch of things in your fridge that are juuuuust bordering on “too fresh,” I swear to you. Put them in a salad and call it a day. Waste not, want not! 😉
There’s a lot going on in this salad (or at least I think that’s what Scott Conant would say if this were “Chopped”), but it works. And hey, why not use up everything you can? It’s sweet, salty, crunchy, tangy, and fresh. The lentils are kind of like natural croutons, especially if you leave them just slightly undercooked. And the other ingredients in it are getting me so stoked for summer. Strawberries, avocado, mint, lemon, feta? MMM. One of my favorite things about summer is getting to cook at my parent’s house. They have an outdoor grill, an herb garden, and raspberry bushes, which is a luxury I may never know in Manhattan. But the taste of fresh mint and berries in this salad took me there for a minute today, especially with some delicious maple dijon salmon on top. Boy, was it blissful. Can summer be here NOW?!
- 1 bunch kale, finely chopped (~1-2 cups chopped)
- 1 1/4 cup strawberries, tops removed and sliced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 10 sprigs of mint, chopped (~1/3 cup chopped)
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup dry green lentils
- 1 cup water + 1 tbs. oil + salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 tbs. honey
- 1/3 red onion, or 1 shallot, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring the lentils to a boil in the water with the oil and salt. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 mins. Check on them frequently to prevent overcooking.
- Drain excess water from lentils, remove from heat, and let cool.
- Combine vinaigrette ingredients (lemon juice, oil, honey, onion, salt, pepper).
- Toss kale in vinaigrette.
- Add strawberries, avocado, feta, lentils, and mint. Toss gently and serve.