If you’re running out of ideas for what to make from your overstocked pantry, try a recipe out of Andrew Zimmern’s kitchen.
The award-winning chef and host of MSNBC’s What’s Eating America shares his recipe for a vegan, protein-rich salad in the Yahoo Life series Cooking for Comfort.
The key ingredient for this nutritious salad? Lentils.
“Lentils and other beans are so nutritious,” Zimmern tells Yahoo Life. “They’ve got a lot of protein. They’re nutrient-dense. They’re super healthy for you.”
If you don’t have lentils, you can swap them for any other beans stocked in your pantry. “This recipe is 100% vegan,” Zimmern explains, though it certainly doesn’t have to be. “You can add leftover shredded chicken or roast pork, whatever you wanted in there if you happen to want to extend it and make it more protein-based.”
The lentils are paired with rice, cumin, coriander and some fresh ingredients including shallots, tomatoes, radishes, cumin, coriander, parsley, mint and cilantro. The herbs can be swapped with any herbs you have at home, Zimmern says.
And if you don’t like cilantro, try pairing it with mint and give it another shot. “The mint fights off the ‘soapiness’ of the cilantro and vice versa,” Zimmern explains.
The salad is dressed with olive oil, honey, lemon and lime juice, and it’s topped with sliced avocado. For the garnish? “A leaf of mint, if you really want to get arty,” Zimmern says. “Super simple, delicious, rice and lentil salad.”
Watch the video above for more of Zimmern’s tips.
ANDREW ZIMMERN: Hey, everybody. Andrew Zimmern here. I asked you the other week if you had pantry items that were especially confusing or ones that you just had a lot of but you needed more tips on what to do with, and overwhelmingly it was rice and beans or other legumes.
So super-easy thing to do. Grab a big mixing bowl. I've got a bunch of rice in there. I'm going to add my lentils, and there I have a little bit more-- I'm probably 60/40 lentils to rice. I'm going to add my cumin, my dried coriander, my minced shallots, chopped parsley, and chopped cilantro.
Now if you notice, I didn't chop these to death. It's not microfine. I want my guest to bite into big pieces of the herb so they actually taste the herb.
Got some mint here. I like to cut the mint right at the last minute so it doesn't bruise.
I'm going to add my tomatoes. Add a radish in there. This is my lemon and my lime juice. It's about a 1/3 of a cup.
Olive oil-- start with 2 to 1, and if I need to add a little extra drizzle, I will.
Honey. A few healthy grinds of black pepper. Salt. Stir it, and then we'll taste and see where we go from here.
And I am holding my spoon on the bottom of the bowl and shaking it back and forth. So I'm folding and not pureeing my tomatoes or my lentils.
Portion up some of this rice and lentil salad. I mean, this is just a stunning lunch. Take four or five pieces of your avocado. Just fan them together and just lay them in [? along ?] the side. Leaf of mint if you really want to get [? hardy. ?]
Super, super simple, delicious rice-and-lentil salad.