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Lentil Salad

I know that lentils aren't everyone's favorite legume. But let's face facts: despite their less-than-appealing appearance, they're an excellent source of protein and fiber and---you'll have to trust me on this---they're delicious, especially when you pair them with crunchy veggies in a salad. Bonus: They're low in calories and only one Weight Watcher point per serving. This means that whatever your dietary preferences are, you can rely on lentils to complete your meal with impunity.

Serve this as a summer side dish with grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon or steak. Leftovers are great for lunch. You still think lentils aren't your thing? That's OK. More for the rest of us!

1 cup dry brown lentils

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 cup diced carrots

1/3 cup diced celery

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup minced parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

5 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan combine lentils, bay leaf and thyme and add enough water to cover by one inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender but not mushy, about 16 to 20 minutes.

Drain lentils and discard bay leaf and thyme. Place lentils in a bowl with carrots, celery, red pepper, red onion, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and serve chilled or room temperature.

Makes 4 1/2 cups

Each serving = 1 scant cup

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