Simple Lentil Salad with Seasonal Vegetables
(101 Diet & Weight Loss Lessons from My Dog)

Here's the salad that brought out my "Inner Puppy" all summer long and now again, into the fall. It's a concept recipe, starting with meaty lentils and whatever vegetables are on hand or appeal, topped, if you like, with a soft-centered egg.

Simple Lentil Salad with Seasonal Vegetables

I could write a book called 101 Diet and Weight Loss Lessons Learned from My Dog.

LESSON ONE "Boring Is Delicious" aka "Hunger Is the Best Sauce".

You see, Lady LOVES her kibble. It may be the same kibble morning after morning, night after night, week after week, year after year and STILL she wriggles and dances in anticipation, digs in with gusto, then licks her chops with obvious appreciation for the finest fare.

And this Lady? She’s kept her girlish figure, despite now being almost my equivalent in dog years.

It’s an easy diet, hers. Before each meal, I run my hand down her spine. If she feels a little bony, I give her a tad more kibble; if she feels meaty, her bowl gets a smidgin less.

Following this diet, call it such, she’s weighed a healthy 49 pounds for eight years.

LESSON TWO “Falling for Temptation” aka “Scammed by a Dog”.

Even my healthy-thin Lady can't resist. One morning, she did her usual “Oh-goody!-It’s-time-for-breakfast!” dance, twirling in the kitchen so happily it made me laugh. No wonder she was so happy: unbeknownst to me, she’d already HAD breakfast and was about to gulp down a second.

LESSON THREE “Second Helpings Add Up”.

At the vet last month, Lady weighed in at 54 pounds! In just two months, she gained five pounds, ten percent of her body weight.

Turns out, Lady hung out with a bad crowd all summer. Her sweet nature earned her extra treats. But most of all, she ate Cookie all summer, well, not Cookie per se since Cookie is a Cat, but Cookie’s cat food.

Sure, Lady could snarf down the equivalent of a sugary doggie donut once in awhile, no harm, no foul. But every day intake of calorie-dense cat food? Instant weight gain.

LESSON FOUR "Take Control Right Away".

Alarmed by Lady’s sudden weight gain, I put her on a diet.

One sunny Sunday afternoon, the woman at the Custard Stop offered her a mini cone as a treat. “No!” I objected. “She’s on a diet.” My own small cone was eaten with a chocolate dip of irony.

This SIMPLE LENTIL SALAD brought out my Inner Dog all summer long and now into the fall, making me a happy pup one delicious salad after another. Start with the lentils, then add vegetables from the garden, your CSA, the farmers market, even the grocery’s produce section. Given its flexibility, this salad is anything but "boring" but maybe, just maybe, it fits into Skinny Habit #3, Eat a Boring Diet, in this fascinating list of 20 Habits Skinny People Live By. The list is common sense – but also provocative, not the sameold-sameold weight loss tips – from the same folks that wrote the cookbook Cook This, Not That that I wrote about last winter with the recipe for Easy Margarita Chicken.
ALANNA's TIPS The roasted eggplant slices make for a wonderful “base” and take just seconds to prep and during warm weather, to roast alongside the other vegetables. For a vegetarian or Meatless Monday supper, I love this salad with a soft-centered egg over top (poached or cooked over easy) but it would be easy to keep this a vegan salad, too.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite healthy recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

CONCEPT RECIPE:
SIMPLE LENTIL SALAD
with SEASONAL VEGETABLES

Make a meal with meaty lentils and fresh vegetables
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Serves 5
    LENTIL SALAD
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup meaty lentils (such as French or Beluga, more information)
  • 2 tablespoons good vinegar (what is good vinegar?)
  • 1 tablespoon good mustard (what is good mustard?)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
    COOL-WEATHER
    SEASONAL VEGETABLES
    (for example, as pictured)
  • 1 pound butternut squash, diced small
  • 1/2 pound turnip, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 globe eggplant, trimmed, skins left on, cut into five ¾-inch thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
    WARM-WEATHER
    SEASONAL VEGETABLES
    (for example)
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled or ‘striped’, seeds removed if large, flesh diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • Fresh dill, chopped
    TO SERVE
  • 5 large eggs, poached
  • Chopped nuts, optional
  • Dried or fresh fruit, optional
  • Diced feta or fresh mozzarella cheese, optional

LENTIL SALAD Bring water and salt to a boil. Add lentils, cover and return to a boil, adjust temperature to maintain a slow simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked but not mushy. Drain.

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, olive oil and salt and pepper, turn into warm lentils. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Makes 2-1/2 cups. Can be made ahead of time and be served either warm or cold.

COOL-WEATHER VEGETABLES Set oven to 400F.

Toss butternut squash and turnip with oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. (These can be turned into the Lentil Salad but the color gets muddied.)

Brush eggplant slices with oil and arrange on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. Season the top side with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, turn over and roast another 30 minutes.

WARM-WEATHER VEGETABLES Combine. (These can also be turned into the Lentil Salad.)

TO SERVE Arrange lentils on serving plates with seasonal vegetables alongside. Top each plate with a poached egg and nuts, fruit and cheese if using.

NUTRITION ESTIMATES (Obviously, actual nutrition/calorie impact will vary based on your own choices but I’ll provide the basics here.)

Full Meal (Lentil Salad, Cool-Weather Vegetables & Egg): 361 Calories; 13g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 211mg Cholesterol; 143mg Sodium; 43g Carb; 18g Fiber; 8g Sugar; 19g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 7.5 & PointsPlus 8

Full Meal (Lentil Salad, Warm-Weather Vegetables & Egg): 248 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 211mg Cholesterol; 111mg Sodium; 27g Carb; 13g Fiber; 3g Sugar; 17g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 5

Lentil Salad Only, Per Half Cup: 162 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 37mg Sodium; 23g Carb; 12g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 10g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4

101 Diet & Weight Loss Lessons from My Dog


Lady in the fall

Meet Lady Koira! She's getting all white and grizzled looking under her chin and on her belly but keeps the spirit of a puppy. She LOVES her kibble – and going to the country where she can run and explore.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna