feeling squirrely

Being stuck in the middle of winter has imparted me with a squirrely compulsion to have my pantry hyper-stocked. This is by no means a bad thing, except for the fact that I am about sixteen bags, cans, and boxes of nuts, grains, and beans away from clearing out my cabinet before heading home in a month. I knew this weekend I needed to tackle a few of these items, and the first, and perhaps fondest item, to experiment with was a bag of dried brown lentils. Lentil soup is my usual go-to lentil dish, but I decided to switch it up this week, inspired by three juicy Meyer lemons that had been eyeing me from my produce drawer all week long and a recipe I had recently seen for lentils, sweet potatoes, and radishes in a Meyer lemon dressing.
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Radishes are not something I normally gravitate towards—their bitterness just doesn’t sit quite right with me. But roasting them was pretty revolutionary. They went from being having a sharp and crunchy bite to being meltingly soft and even a little bit sweet. Paired with my all-time favorite, the sweet potato, and a mustard, thyme, and Meyer lemon vinaigrette, this salad was bright, yet earthy, and had a beautiful mix of colors to boot. I shared this with friends at a potluck dinner tonight, and I’m already looking forward to having leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

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One bag of beans down, 15 more pantry staples to go. Stay tuned for more!

Lentil Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Serves 8-10

Roasted Vegetables:
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 lb radishes, cut into small cubes
1 red onion, diced
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 450. Toss cubes sweet potatoes, radishes, and diced onions with 3 tbsp olive oil, salt, and thyme. Use remaining tbsp of olive oil to coat the bottom of a cookie sheet. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer. Roast for one hour or until sweet potatoes start to caramelize, stirring every 15 minutes.

Lentils:
2 ½ cups (1 bag) green or brown lentils
5 cups water

Rinse lentils under cold water. Place them in a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer with a lid partially on the pot for about 30 minutes, or until lentils are soft but not mushy. If all the water is not absorbed during the cooking process, drain off liquid in a colander.

Vinaigrette:
3 Meyer lemons
2 tbsp grainy mustard (Dijon would work too)
1-2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
a few cracks of black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

Whisk together zest and juice of 3 lemons, mustard, thyme and black pepper. Add olive oil and whisk until vinaigrette is emulsified.

To assemble:
Stir cooked lentils, roasted vegetables, and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Serve warm or cold. Keeps well for meals throughout the week!

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