Quinoa with Red Lentils, Swiss Chard, Feta, Mint & Pistachios

By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches

Recently my husband had come home recently with several bunches of organic mint. I didn't know quite what to do with it all, so I made a whiskey sour with lots of mint (which I recently learned is called a Whisky Smash) and pondered my sudden mint bonanza. 

Luckily, I spied a meal online that looked promising. And then I re-jigged the recipe based on what I had on hand and got to work. 

This salad is a bit of a funny one. Wilted chard and red lentils are something you don't typically find in a warm salad, but it works. The bulk of the salad - quinoa, lentils and chard - are all well and good. Filling, healthy and tasty. But it's the mint that really makes the salad. 

Do not leave out the mint. The mint is essential here. 

Plus, the mint, feta and pistachios all help make this salad pretty easy on the eyes as well. 

Quinoa with Red Lentils, Swiss Chard, Feta, Mint & Pistachios
(adapted from Dana Treat)

1 cup quinoa (red or yellow)
2 cup vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup red lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon aleppo pepper
pinch of kosher salt
1 bunch Swiss Chard, ribs removed and sliced thinly

juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch mint, leaves torn
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
1/4 cup salted pistachios, roughly chopped

In a medium, heavy bottomed pot, toast the quinoa over medium-high heat for about 2- 3 minutes until lightly toasted, shaking the pan often. Add in the stock and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer over low until the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and dump into a large serving bowl. 

In the same pot, add in red lentils and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to medium-low and cook until the lentils are just tender, 10 minutes or so. Don't let the lentils cook too long or they'll turn to mush. Drain and add to the quinoa.

In a skillet, add olive oil and sauté the red onion and garlic until soft but not brown over medium-high heat. Add in a pinch of salt, the aleppo pepper, and the swiss chard. Cook down and let it get slightly wilty. Remove from heat and let it cool down slightly. 

Add the chard mixture into the bowl of quinoa and lentils and toss well. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil along with a grind of freshly ground black pepper. Toss in the mint and feta and then top with the pistachios. Serves 6.

Jan Halvarson

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