Spinach and Lentil Orzo Salad

Spinach and Lentil Orzo Salad

A healthy side dish for the holiday season

A friend and I were recently discussing some stereotypical 'health nut' foods – things like tofu, bean sprouts and quinoa (two out of three of which I've featured in this column. And another of the foods we mentioned was lentils. But lentils really get a bad rap. In truth, they're a cheap and seriously good-for-you food, chock full of protein, fiber and vitamins. Added with some antioxidant-laden spinach, this is one side dish that you can feel good about taking a second helping of over the holidays.

There are two main types of lentils – orange or red and green/black. The red ones add a nice color contrast to the salad, but the green ones actually hold their shape better when cooked, so pick which every works for you.

Spinach and Lentil Orzo Salad – Serves 6

1 1/2 cups orzo, uncooked (I used whole wheat)

10 ounces spinach

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/4 cups lentils (if canned, rinse before using, if dried, cook according to directions)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

salt and pepper

Cook the orzo according to package directions and set aside. Roughly chop the spinach and sautee it, in shifts if necessary, in 2 tablespoons olive oil until wilted.

Toss the orzo, spinach and lentils together. Whisk the 2 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, mustard and honey together, and pour over the salad, tossing to combine.

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