By Christine Vartanian Datian
1 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed, or 1 cup cooked brown, green or red lentils, drained
2 cups penne or bow-tie pasta, boiled and drained
1 cup fresh apricots, diced
1 cup Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples, seeded and diced
1 cup red seedless grapes
1 medium zucchini, peeled and diced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup golden raisins, diced
1/4 cup green onions or scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup each fresh parsley and mint, finely chopped
Kosher or sea salt, black pepper, Hungarian sweet paprika (to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
Juice of two lemons or choice of red, balsamic or raspberry wine vinegar
8-10 cups mixed greens (or a combination of romaine, Bibb lettuce, watercress, arugula, frisee, red leaf, and spinach, chopped)
Brown Sugar Nuts
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup each almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts or pecans
Dash of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
In a medium pan, melt the butter, add the brown sugar, and mix together for a few minutes on low heat; add the maple syrup (or honey) and water, and cook all ingredients until bubbly; add the nuts, salt, vanilla and cinnamon, and toss until the nuts are well coated. Toss for a few minutes longer, remove from heat, and spoon nuts onto a plate or sheet of wax paper to dry completely.
In a large bowl, combine the lentils, pasta, apricots, apples, grapes, zucchini, shallot, and raisins; add the green onions, parsley and mint, and toss.
Season with salt, pepper, paprika and lemon zest. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar to taste and toss.
Serve salad at room temperature or chill for 2-3 hours before serving.
Divide the mixed greens on four serving plates. Spoon the salad on top of the mixed greens and garnish with Brown Sugar Nuts.
*Diced ham or shredded cooked chicken, turkey or pork may be added to this salad for lunch or dinner.
To see more of Christine’s recipes, go to: http://www.myrecipes.com/search/site/Datian or http://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/
Christine Vartanian Datian is a native of Fresno, California and lives in Las Vegas. She is a graduate of California State University, Fresno (CSUF), and holds a Master of Arts Degree (MA) in Mass Communications. She has been published in Sunset and Cooking Light Magazines for over a decade.