Cilantro

Slow-Roasted Bell Pepper with Red Lentils

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup skinned split brown lentils (salmon-colored in this form, masoor dal), picked over for stones

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped

  • 2 to 4 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, to taste, stems removed, thinly sliced crosswise (do not remove the seeds)

  • 1 medium-size tomato, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

PREPARATION:

  1. Place the lentils in a medium-size saucepan. Fill the pan halfway with water and rinse the lentils by rubbing them between your fingertips. The water will become cloudy. Drain this water. Repeat three or four times, until the water remains relatively clear; drain. Now add 3 cups water and bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium heat. Skim off and discard any foam that forms on the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and chiles, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the bell pepper initially releases its water and then starts to brown, and the hot chiles smell pungent (adequate ventilation will help clear the air), 10 to 12 minutes.

  3. Stir in the tomato, salt, and turmeric, and scrape the bottom of the skillet to deglaze it, releasing the browned bits. Pour in 2 cups water and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomato has softened and turn slightly pulpy, 5 to 8 minutes.

  4. Once the lentils are tender, pour the bell pepper sauce into the pan. Raise the meat to medium and continue to simmer the dal, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the flavors mingle and the sauce thickens slightly, 5 to 8 minutes.

  5. Stir in the cilantro, and serve.

Pico de Gallo Salsa

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced

  • 2 cups diced tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño (optional)

  • Kosher salt

PREPARATION:

  1. Place 1 cup cold water and 2 ice cubes in a medium bowl.

  2. Add onion; stir, then discard ice; drain well. Transfer to a medium bowl.

  3. Add tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeño, if desired. Season with salt.INGREDIENTS

Crisp Cucumber Salsa

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups finely chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 4-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

  • Tortilla chips

PREPARATION:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt.

  2. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately with chips.

Tomato-Beet Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound scrubbed small beets

  • 2 pounds tomatoes, preferably heirloom

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Seal beets in a foil packet. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, 75 minutes. When cool, rub beets with a paper towel to remove skins; slice.

  2. Slice large tomatoes, and halve cherry tomatoes, then arrange with beets on a platter.

  3. Top with feta, cilantro, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Raw and Roasted Carrots and Fennel

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large fennel bulb, halved lengthwise and divided

  • 1 bunch small carrots with tops, divided

  • 1 bunch scallions, halved crosswise and divided

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (tender leaves and stems, from 1 bunch)

  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)

  • 1/4 cup toasted unsalted pistachios, chopped

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

  2. Cut one of the fennel bulb halves into 1/2-inch-thick wedges, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Trim tops from carrots, and chop tops to equal 1 cup; set aside. Scrub carrots (do not peel), and add half of carrots to fennel wedges. Add half of scallions and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast at 425°F for 18 minutes or until carrots and fennel are completely tender and scallions begin to char, tossing occasionally. Remove from oven; cool to room temperature.

  3. Thinly slice remaining carrots, fennel, and scallions diagonally into 3-inch-long pieces; place in a large bowl.

  4. Add cooled roasted vegetables to raw vegetables in bowl. Add juice, cilantro, and carrot tops; toss. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and top with feta and pistachios. Serve immediately, or let stand at room temperature 1 hour.