Walking through the grocery store is one of the best sources of inspiration when it comes to cooking. The prepared food section is overflowing with foods that scream “make me from scratch!”–mainly because there’s no sense in paying $5.29 a pound for something that take less than $3 to make at home.
That’s where lettuce-less salads come in. There’s Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, Fruit Salad, Grasshopper Salad (a delicious combination of Cool Whip, pudding, mint flavoring, and crushed-up mint Oreos); none of them have lettuce but they’re all considered salads. So we’ll call this Meatless Monday dish a salad too. Chewy lentils, meaty mushrooms, tart apples and creamy sweet potatoes all combine to make one of the best lettuce-less salads that won’t break the bank. A drizzle of a super simple balsamic vinegar reduction and a crumble of salty cheese really take this meal over the top.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ medium red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tart apple (such as Cortland), chopped
1 medium sweet potato, steamed, peeled, and chopped
1 cup cooked lentils
Balsamic vinegar reduction, see recipe below
2-4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)
Salt to taste
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onion, stirring to coat with oil, and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
3. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
4. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook until mushrooms begin to soften and release juices.
5. Add remaining oil, apples, sweet potato and lentils. Cook until warmed through, about 5 – 10 minutes.
6. Divide among bowls and top with balsamic vinegar reduction and cheese. Serve immediately.
Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1. Place vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to boil over high heat.
2. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly. The reduction will thicken as it cools.