When the summer gets hot, as it has been this year, nothing is more satisfying than a cold and easy salad. There’s just something I love about a fresh cold salad on a hot day, not to mention a perfect dish for outdoor potlucks. While I love tabouli, hummus and caprese salads I have recently started making a really fresh and nutritious salad for these hot days that I thought I would share. This salad combines two of my favorites, lentils and quinoa, which together are a formidable nutritional combination with with more than 16 g of protein from both the lentils and quinoa. This salad is also packed with fiber thanks to quinoa, vitamins B, C and E and iron, selenium and copper. But the real reason I make it is that it tastes great and I can make it in one pot in about 45 minutes. This recipe gives you a generous amount of food, easily enough for 4 people, which just gets better over time in the refrigerator and is perfect for snacks and lunches over a week or more.
The Spanish took many products from the Americas and introduced them to the world where they had a huge impact. The history of the world, for example, would be very different had it not been for the Andean potato, which allowed populations to boom in many places. But for some reason, almost no Andean condiment made that transition, and yet they are still used today in the foods of Cuzco. In the Cuzco markets you can buy bunches of herbs called asnapa that are classic for Cuzco cuisine. The asnapa generally includes oregano, rue (a plant that is almost never used for food in Anglo North America), cilantro, yerba buena (“good herb” or a sweet mint that can often be a form of muña), parsley, muña, huacatay, and paiko. Although the asnapa contains some European imports: oregano, rue, cilantro, and parsley, and even these are not always so clearly foreign as in “oregano” and “yerba buena”, nevertheless the core flavors come straight from the Incas and before. I got to see some unusual herbs in Aguas Calietes and some plants used for food, like the Arrowleaf Elephant Ear that I thought I would share in this post.