End of summer blues. I've got 'em. It happens every year when school starts. In the midst of the back to school shuffle, I start to daze off, thinking about those carefree days of waking up late, sipping wine at the beach and being free of all schedules. Wait. Sorry, that actually never happened. But still, I dream.
Don't get me wrong, the thrill of getting back into a routine is wonderful and believe me, we all need that right now. BUT, there is this thing called "cold weather" that I happen to absolutely DESPISE! I know it's coming. I can feel it creeping up behind me, like in a horror movie.
It's moments like these, when I realize those guided meditations in yoga class actually pay off. We learn how to be present in the moment. So that's what I'm going to do now. Focus on this moment. And right now it's still summer, it's pretty warm out (although rainy) and I've got lots of great tasting summer veggies lying around.
I've had this box of red lentil pasta sitting in my pantry for months. I finally had a few extra minutes on my hands and decided to make it for lunch. I thought whipping up a pasta salad would be nice using up the last of summer's corn, zucchini and tomatoes. I was also interested in what the lentil pasta would taste like. I used Tolerant Red Lentil Pasta. I'll give you my review at the end.
To make this recipe quick, I used all raw vegetables. I sliced up the zucchini very thin, which to me makes it more tasty and appealing. If you don't have zucchini, go ahead and use a cucumber! I sliced the kernels off of a fresh piece of Jersey corn and simply sprinkled them in the salad with some fresh sweet cherry tomatoes. No cooking required except for the pasta.
For the dressing, I made a simple herbed vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, olive oil and dried herbs (because my fresh herbs in my garden aren't doing their best). But if your fresh herbs are still doing well, by all means use them up!
To top it off I added some feta cheese. But you can keep it vegan by omitting it and it will still be delicious. Maybe add in some olives instead.
So here's what I thought of the pasta...
I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. It cooks just like regular pasta in terms of time. The taste is slightly sweeter but the texture is a bit more dense but very palatable (not gritty as I thought it might be). It does actually have a mild lentil flavor to it, which I happen to think was pretty nice. I think it's perfect for a pasta salad with veggies. Not so sure I'd like it with marinara or any type of tomato sauce (just keeping it real folks).
What I love about the lentil pasta is that it is so high in iron (50% of your daily value). When it comes to protein it's off the charts! One serving is a whopping 21 gms of protein! That's great news for vegetarians. And the fiber content is 11gms/serving making it a better choice for those with metabolic issues like insulin resistance and diabetes. And, because it's quick and easy, you can make it ahead and serve it cold which is perfect for school and work lunches.
Here's to a happy, healthy, fresh start to the school year!
This post was not sponsored. All opinions are my own.
To make the Herbed Red Wine Vinaigrette:
¼ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp oregano
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
good pinch of coarse salt and pepper
Whisk or shake all ingredients together in an jar or container.
End of Summer Red Lentil Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. red lentil pasta
- 1 zucchini quartered and very thinly sliced
- 1 fresh corn shucked
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- crumbled feta cheese
- herbed red wine vinaigrette see above
- Boil water for pasta and cook according to directions.
- Drain and let cool.
- In meantime, prep veggies.
- Once pasta is cooled, toss in the veggies and dressing.
- Top with crumbled feta.
- Serve room temperature or cold.