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Green lentil salad for a light lunch on Meatless Monday

​​​No one's saying you have to go meatless just because it's Monday -- but as incentive to join the growing movement, every week we're offering an animal-free recipe.

Celebrate the start of spring with a medley of fresh carrots, celery and nutty, firm green lentils. Served warm atop a bed of mixed spring greens, this recipe is light but nutritious, perfect for a burst of mid-day energy. And it's easy -- much less involved than last week's lasagna!

You will need:

1 1/4 cups dried green lentils 3 garlic cloves 3 bay leaves Salt 3 medium carrots 1/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin) 1 lemon 1 celery stalk 2 tablespoons fresh or freeze-dried dill Freshly ground black pepper, to taste Several cups of baby spinach, spring mix, mesclun -- or any tender greens

1. Crush the garlic cloves. 2. Rinse the lentils and pick over to remove stones. Place them in a medium pot and cover with plenty of water. Add the garlic and bay leaves and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes. 3. Peel and thinly slice the carrots. 4. Squeeze the lemon into a measuring cup and use a fork to remove any seeds. 5. Mix the oil, lemon juice and a pinch or two of salt in a large bowl (or a small bowl with an airtight lid that you can use to cover the bowl when you shake the dressing). 6. After the lentils have cooked for fifteen minutes, add the carrots and 1 teaspoon or so of salt. Continue to cook for about ten minutes; the lentils and carrots should be tender, but not falling apart. 8. Place the dressing in a large bowl and add the celery and the dill. 9. By now, your lentils are probably perfect. Drain in a colander and sift through with a fork, removing the bay leaves and crushed garlic. 10. Add the lentils to the dressing and mix thoroughly. Allow to cool for at least ten minutes -- this is a recipe that tastes better the next day, as the lentils fully absorb the flavors. Serve warm atop a bed of two to four cups of fresh salad greens for a protein-filled meal. Non-vegans might want to add some feta or goat's cheese to the mix, too.

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