Healthy AND Good: Lentils and Parsnip Salad

Technically, we have to eat to compensate the loss of calories from our daily activities. Which means we could eat just anything to have our energy, but where's the fun in that? And even if the idea of having 400gr of Nutella a day, to get about our 2000 daily calories, can sound appealing in the first place (especially on a day like today) it might not be the best way to go.

I don't subscribe to the idea that healthy food is necessarily boring, and that on the other hand, all the food that people generally enjoy is bad for your health. Let's take for say... Chocolate (what an unsual choice on my behalf).
Yes, munching down a whole pack of chocolate bars isn't going to do you any good, but 10 to 30gr of a good black chocolate is recommended everyday, it's a natural mood elevator, it is good for high blood pressure, it will stimulate your brain... etc.
The thing is to have fun with it, instead of just eating those 30gr of black chocolate, I could melt it down with a little bit of milk, and pour it over a pear for dessert. All the sudden it turns into something more appealing (at least to me), and with the added bonus of eating a fruit.

Now that I've talked about chocolate, the main ingredient of the day might be a dissapointment: it's lentils. Not very sexy, I give you that, but as a former vegetarian, it is a standard in my kitchen, because it is a good source of iron, full of protein and fibers. It's also considered as one of the healthiest food.
Still not very sexy... Well this recipe propose the lentils "al dente", which brings a different texture to what you might are used to.
Even if "winter salad" always sounds a bit like a paradoxe to me, this one I particularly like. The crunch of the lentils and the seeds, the soft parsnips, the savory bacon, the sweet honey... This recipe has all it takes to get you thru a cold winter day.

Lentil salad with Parsnip (adapated from Saveurs magazine Number 189)

Serves 2

100gr of Lentils
1 Parsnip
50gr of Bacon, diced
3 Tablespoons of Sunflower Seeds
1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Honey
4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons of Fresh Chives, chopped
Salt, Pepper

Weight 100gr of lentils in a glass, pour them in a pan, and add twice the volume of water. Season with salt and pepper and start cooking on a medium heat, for about 30 minutes, the whole water needs to evaporate, a bit like a risotto if you want. Stir every now and them, have a try, as said, they must be "al dente", set aside.

Using a non sticky frying pan, roast the sunflower seeds without adding any fat, they need to be golden and pop a little. Set aside.
In the same pan, after you removed the sunflower seeds, put the diced bacon, again with no fat, and let it cook to a nice golden color. Tip the bacon on some paper towel, so it will absorb the excess of fat.

Peel and cut the parsnip into thin stripes, in the same frying pan, add a little bit of olive oil and on a high heat, cook the parsnip for about 4 or 5 minutes, before lowering the heat and cooking them until they are soft. Tip them on a paper towel aswell, to absorb the oil.

Make the dressing with the balsamic vinegar, the olive oil and the honey, using a whisk to combine all ingredients well.

In a bowl, combine all you have prepared: the lentils, the parsnip, the sunflower seeds and the bacon. Pour the dressing on it, and preferably leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours. Before eating it, sprinkle over the chopped chives.

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