CESAR LENTIL SALAD
Caesar Lentil Salad
Caesar Lentil Salad is my on-the-go lunch. The lentils can bring any salad to life with its earthy flavors. I absolutely love lentils for several reasons. Lentils only take 30 minutes or so to cook, which is a plus in my busy home. However, the main reason why I love lentils, is because of the protein. One cup of these delicious legumes is loaded with 18 grams of protein and only “230ish” calories. I am not much of a meat eater, which is why I enjoy eating lentils on a weekly base.
Hail the Caesar Lentil Salad?
Contrary to what many people might be thinking, Caesar Salad is not named after Julius Caesar nor the title of Roman Emperors. Rather, this salad is named after its creator Caesar Cardini, an Italian-born restaurateur who immigrated to the United States after World War 1. And just like any food story, this has a few versions as some others have also claimed they invented the salad. Oooh, all these food rumors!
Wondering how it was “invented” for the very first time? Well, according to one version, it was born out of scarcity. In Caesar Cardini’s restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, on the 4th of July in 1924, an unexpected rush of restaurant diners left them running out of supplies. So in order to serve the customers who kept coming in, Cardini concocted a salad + dressing based on whatever ingredients were there. Talk about being resourceful! Good job, Cardini!
Build Your Salad, Build Your Health
Now, I used Romaine lettuce as my base for this salad since this is a Caesar Salad-inspired dish. As you may know, traditional Caesar Salad uses Romaine. But guess what? Did you know that the original version of Caesar Cardini uses whole Romaine leaves, not roughly cut up into pieces as we know it today? Cardini places all the ingredients on top of each leaf, and one would eat the salad with bare hands. No forks! I figure that would be a bit messy, don’t you think?
By the way, you may also use other greens as base, but Romaine provides more 10x more Vitamin A than the iceberg lettuce! Imagine, 10x! Now that’s a naturally delicious way to take care of our eyes, don’t you think so? All that Vitamin A, natural and not processed in a pill or something. On top of that, Romaine is also richer in terms of Vitamin K.
So now we have the base of the salad. Next are the toppings.
Toppings for this salad are interchangeable, so I change it up constantly by using rainbow veggies. I used a medley of colorful veggies — red bell peppers, green/white cucumbers, and betanin red beetroots. Side note: beets contain a red food dye/pigment called “betanin”. I sliced them in thin slices, but it’s up to you to experiment. I like them sliced (and you can slice them easily using a mandolin) ’cause it’s nicer to arrange them together. They could even overlap for added visual interest! We gotta bring ART even in our food, baby.
Let’s keep building, shall we? We then add the lentils for more texture and color to the salad. This time, the colors range from yellow to red-orange, and sometimes even green, brown or black. It depends on what type of lentils you have.
Lastly, drizzle the Caesar Dressing on top and it’s good to go! Easy peasy!
Salad your Way to Powerful Workouts
Another reason why I love salads is because of my workouts. I like to hit the weights as often as I can! Therefore, this Caesar Lentil Salad is a perfect fit for adding fuel to your body after an intense workout.
It’s light, so you shouldn’t begin to feel exhausted in the middle of the day, after eating this protein veggie packed lunch.
Try this salad with your favorite Caesar dressing and veggies! Your body will thank you for it 🙂