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When strawberries are in season, I just can’t get enough. Which is probably why my mind immediately went to them as I was dreaming up lentil recipes last weekend. I hesitated for a second, then added the ingredients to my list.
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I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive about how my strawberry and lentil salad with peppered tuna would come out. All of the ingredients seemed like they would work — strawberries, basil, black, pepper and balsamic vinegar are all amazing together — but I couldn’t help worry that the final dish would be a dud. I worried that it would be bland. Boring. Imagining final dish made me drool, but I worried that I wouldn’t be able to translate it into an edible dinner.
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I shouldn’t have worried. This dish surpassed even my wildest dreams. Bursting with flavor, it was anything but boring. I couldn’t help but smile as I ate — this meal could easily have made an appearance on a menu at the best restaurant in town. I had seconds of the salad. Shawn had seconds of the salad (which is saying a lot, considering it was undeniably healthy).
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I always tell people not to be intimidated by cooking, that if something sounds good it probably will be. And that if it’s not, the worst that will happen is that they’ll end up throwing it out and ordering take-out. That anyone can cook food that is healthy and delicious. I guess I need to take my own advice.

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Lentil and Strawberry Salad with Pepper-Crusted Tuna

Prep time 10 minutes, Total Time 50 minutes.
Serves 2.

  • 1/2 cup Lentils
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 cups Chopped Strawberries (about 8 large berries)
  • 2 Tbs diced Red Onion
  • 1 Lemon, Juiced
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 pinch Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 8 ounce Tuna Steak
  • 2 Tbs crushed Black Pepper*
  • 1 handfull Basil, chiffonade (about 1/4 cup unpacked leaves)

Add lentils and water to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender and all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the strawberries, red onion, and lemon juice. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

While the salad cools, prepare the balsamic reduction: Add the vinegar and sugar to a small pan and bring to a boil. Once the vinegar starts to bubble, lower the heat to medium. Cook until the vinegar has reduced to about 2 Tablespoons – this should take about 5 minutes,

Gently press the black pepper into one side of the tuna steak. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the tuna to the pan, peppered side down. Cook 2 minutes. Flip. Cook another 2-3 minutes or until it reaches your preferred level of doneness.

Stir the basil into the lentil and strawberry salad. Season to taste with black pepper. Top with sliced tuna and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

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Over the next two weeks, I will be participating in the US Dry Pea and Lentil Challenge by posting several gluten-free recipes featuring dry peas and lentils (similar to the Recipe Rivalry challenge I participated in last year!). As a challenge participant, I received a stipend for groceries, samples of US dry peas and lentils, and some cooking supplies from the US Dry Pea and Lentil Council. At the end of the challenge, there will be an opportunity for you to help me win a prize — and to win a prize of your own. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. As always, all opinions are my own and all recipes are original.

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I’m submitting this post to Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen

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