Chosen Bites: Hearty winter salad

Winter food doesn't always have to mean time-consuming soups and stews; this salad made with lentils can be quite filling.

chicken salad 390 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
chicken salad 390
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
During the colder months, I am so busy making hearty soups, stews and other more substantial dishes, I often forget to add salads to my menus.
A salad made with the addition of grains or legumes and protein can be quite filling and healthy at the same time.
I frequently have numerous appointments during the week, classes to teach and my favorite yoga class to attend. While I do enjoy a comforting bowl of soup or stew, I don’t always have time to prepare elaborate meals on weeknights.
Those nights, I reach for quick cooking boneless chicken, lentils and crunchy greens. Nutritious and filling, I am able to keep up my schedule and still eat a home cooked meal.
French lentils with roasted chicken saladServes 4
For the lentils 1 cup french lentils1 bay leafSeveral sprigs of fresh thyme2 cloves garlic, smashed but not peeled2 cups water or chicken stock
For the chickenOlive oil4 boneless, skinless chicken breastsSalt and pepper
For the vinaigrette3 tablespoons Dijon style mustard3 tablespoons red wine vinegar½ cup extra virgin olive oil½ teaspoon kosher salt½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
For the salad4 cups of salad greens (I am crazy about kale)Chopped carrots, celery, cucumbersToasted nuts
Preheat oven to 325
1. Place all of the ingredients for the lentils in a medium saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes until the lentils are cooked through but still holding their shape. Remove and discard the bay leaf, thyme and garlic cloves. Cool the lentils.
2. Heat a sauté pan, lightly coated with olive oil, over medium high heat. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Place the pan with the chicken in the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through (about 10-12 minutes). Slice the chicken breasts.
3. Whisk the ingredients for the vinaigrette together.
4. Place all of the ingredients on a decorative platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering and author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.