Happy Friday everyone! Hope your week has gone by as speedy as mine has. Can’t believe it’s nearly the weekend. Today’s post is a yummy salad that came together due to laziness, but fits in nicely with my ‘Cooking for Beginner’s’ series: recipes that are quick, easy, healthy and cheap.
After returning home from the gym, tired and sore, I needed a good hit of carbs and protein to repair my tired muscles. After exercising, it’s really important to get both carbs and protein in you to repair the damage you’ve done. Without the energy to go to the supermarket, I rummaged through the pantry and found some little yellow potatoes that would fulfill my carb component. Since our cupboards were quite bare, the only sources of protein I could find were bacon and lentils. Potatoes, bacon and lentils, how very french.
I decided I’d make a salad using these ingredients, throwing in a handful of spinach leaves for some added vitamins (I hope you’re all adding them to your baked beans after last weeks post!). After cooking the potatoes, lentils and bacon, I tossed together my ingredients with lemon juice and olive oil. Speedy, healthy and delicious. Not to mention frugal!
I know some of you out there are raising your eyebrows at me saying this is a healthy salad given it’s got bacon in it. But I’ve got some good news for you: bacon is not bad for you. The high protein/low carb composition of bacon is actually beneficial for weight loss, as it raises your metabolism and helps build leaner, stronger muscles. Bacon also has less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than many popular cuts of beef and chicken, with a protein to fat ratio of 4 to 1, one of the best on earth. In fact the fats found in bacon are actually good fats, the monounsaturated kind found in olive oil that are good for your brain. Also, the Omega-3 fatty acids found in bacon not only help prevent heart disease, they lower your cholesterol, reduce inflammation and improve circulation, plus unlike fish, bacon doesn’t contain mercury.
So there you go. Eat bacon: it’s good for you.
BACON, POTATO, SPINACH & LENTIL SALAD
1 kg white baby potatoes, skin on
2 cups (380g) green puy lentils or french lentils
4 rashes of bacon, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 red onion, finely diced
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
100g baby spinach leaves
salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Cut potatoes into 3cm pieces (I cut mine in quarters). Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add potatoes, and cook for 10 minutes until just tender. Take the potatoes out of the water, keeping the water on the boil. Transfer potatoes to a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle over salt and pepper. Place in a hot oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
- Meanwhile, rinse the lentils under cold water. Add the lentils to the boiling water the potatoes were in, and boil for 20 minutes or until tender. Keep an eye that the water does not boil dry.
- While the lentils and potatoes are cooking, heat a large fry pan, add the bacon without any oil, and fry until really crispy, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute until fragrant. Turn off the heat, stir through the onions and set aside until you are ready to assemble the salad.
- When the lentils are cooked, drain them and run under cold water. Drain well. Transfer lentils to a large bowl. Add the bacon mix, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the spinach leaves and potatoes and toss to combine. Serve immediately.