We spent the weekend in Sunday River, Maine. It was good to hang out with friends, indulge in the fresh air and change of scenery, and reconnect with nature. I’m not much of a skier—truthfully, I’m not much for the cold—and we were fortunate to have gorgeous spring like weather that was perfect for snow shoeing. We also were treated to a snow storm. A glimpse of two different seasons in the same weekend. It got me thinking about the shift from heartier winter food to all the yummy spring produce I look forward to this time of year. This nicoise style lentil salad is ideal for transition season.
Winter storage veggies, like potatoes and onions are still in season, even as spring greens and beans make their way into the markets. Confusing as the weather…..but it doesn’t have to be. Incorporating BOTH winter and spring veggies into meals and menus is the way to ease into the coming season.
French lentils are simple to use, loaded with nutrition and will adapt to the flavors you are cooking with. French lentils do not require soaking, resist falling apart when cooked and have many health benefits. Lentil are full of fiber which helps regulate blood glucose levels and lower cholesterol. The complex carbs in French lentils digest slowly, giving off a steady stream of energy. They also have a high amount of protein, iron and Vitamin C.
Purple potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and the antioxidant, anthocyanin, which has been studied as an immune system booster. Eating a wide variety of colors insures a wide variety of nutrition.
Green Beans are just showing up in the market and they make a great addition to a nutrient dense menu. They are a good source of calcium, iron, manganese, potassium and copper. They also are filled with vitamins A, C, K, B6 and folic acid. Green beans are also loaded with fiber and provide some of your daily protein requirements.
There is enough nutrition in this salad, to eat it on its own for a balanced meal. I like to serve it over a bed of arugula and sometimes I give a nod over to the classic nicoise by adding shredded hard-boiled egg or a piece of grilled tuna on top. Whether you serve it as a side dish, or as the main event, the dressing is sure to win you over.