Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Serves 4 / Serve this nutritious salad on a bed of lettuce, topped with feta cheese and olives and surrounded by tomato wedges and cucumber slices.

1 cup brown or green lentils
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
Boiling water
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red or yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 rounded teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Rinse the lentils. In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils, water, bay leaves, thyme and garlic to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally.

2. While the lentils simmer, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Combine the celery, red pepper, onion and parsley in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients until smooth. When the sun-dried tomatoes have softened, drain and mince them, then add to the vegetables.

3. Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaves. Remove the garlic, mash it, and mix it back into the lentils. Toss the lentils with the vegetables and dressing, and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately, or cover and chill to serve later.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 354 calories % fat calories: 45 Fat: 19g (3g saturated) Cholesterol: 0mg Carbohydrate: 35g Protein: 15g

Mushroom Pecan Burgers

Serves 6 / Cremini mushrooms give a rich, distinctive flavor to these veggie burgers, but you may also substitute regular mushrooms.

1-1/2 cups chopped onions (about 1 medium onion)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups chopped cremini mushrooms (about 10 ounces)
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
1 cup cooked brown rice
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon miso (optional)
1 cake firm tofu (16 ounces), pressed and drained
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously oil a baking sheet.

2. In a medium skillet, sauté the onions in the oil. Cook on medium heat until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the marjoram, thyme and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender, 5-10 minutes more.

3. Spoon the mushroom mixture into a large bowl. Add the pecans, soy sauce, bread crumbs, rice, oats, dill and miso, if using. Mix in the tofu, mashing it with your hands or a potato masher. Add salt and pepper and mix well.

4. Shape the mixture into six patties and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve on toast or in a bun.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 272 calories % fat calories: 42 Fat: 13g (2g saturated) Cholesterol: 0mg Carbohydrate: 27g Protein: 14g Reprinted with permission from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home (Fireside Books, 1994).