Build A Meal 2 – Three-Course Veggieful

Okay, there’s quite a bit of chopping going into this meal, but it’s worth the taste of tons of fresh vegetables.


Tomato Vegetable Soup

Main Course

Creamy Asparagus Penne


Masoor Dhal Salad

Dessert (pick one)

Let’s go with the simple and healthy here… fruit salad.  You want to be a little bit unhealthy?  Add a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream or mascarpone cheese creamed with a little honey and lemon zest.


For something quick and warm, try out my Sweet Pastry Bites.


Masoor Dhal Salad


1 cup whole masoor dhal (red lentils)

2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/2 cup cucumber, seeded and diced

4 scallions, both white and green parts, diced (feel free to swap out for finely chopped red onion for stronger flavor)

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt & pepper to taste


1.  Cook masoor dhal in water until just done.  Do not overcook as the dhal will become mushy.  Drain and set aside to cool.

2.  In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice and salt & pepper.  Allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring a few times.

3.  When the masoor dhal is cool, combine with the veggie mixture.  Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate and serve cold.

Black Bean Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

Here’s a simple, refreshing and healthy salad for the summer.  Just a few ingredients and homemade dressing.  Serve as is, or on a slice of toasted baguette rubbed with garlic, or rolled up in a warm tortilla.  Yum!


1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

For the dressing:

1 ripe avocado, skin removed, pitted and roughly chopped

Juice from two small limes

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup cold water

Salt & pepper to taste

1 clove garlic (optional)


1.  Combine the black beans, tomato and onion in a large bowl.

2.  For the dressing, blend the avocado, lime juice, olive oil, water, salt & pepper, and garlic (if using) until it is creamy.  If it is too thick, add water in small amounts until you achieve the desired consistency.  I prefer the dressing a little thin, so the salad stays light.

3.  Pour dressing over the salad and stir gently to combine.  Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.

Note: It’s best to make the dressing just before serving.  However, the dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days without browning IF you keep it in a tightly sealed glass jar.

Kosambri… It’s Just A Salad

Kosambri, also known as kosumali, combines fresh veggies with moong dhal, lemon juice and a few other ingredients for a simple salad that is a refreshing addition to any Indian meal.  This recipe requires a little advance prep as the moong dhal needs to soak for a few hours.



1/2 cup split moong dhal

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and finely diced

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 or 2 green chillies, split lengthwise

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp urad dhal

1/4 tsp salt



1.  Soak the moong dhal in water for 2 or 3 hours.

2.  Drain water from the moong dhal.  Put the diced cucumber, moong dhal, green chillies, lemon juice, cilantro and salt in a bowl and mix.

3.  In a small frying pan, heat the oil.  Add the mustard seeds when the oil is hot.  When the mustard seeds start popping, add the urad dhal.  Saute until the urad dhal browns.  Remove from heat and add to the cucumber.  Toss well.  Add salt if needed.

4.  Serve immediately.  Kosambri can be kept in the fridge, but tends to be better if served just after preparation as salt pulls water from the cucumber and creates a mushy, slushy salad.

Variation:  Substitute grated carrot and finely diced tomatoes (seeds removed) for the cucumber, and increase the lemon juice by half.

Celery Root, Kale, and Avocado Slaw

So I tried out this slaw from Whole Living—Celery Root, Kale, and Avocado Slaw –—with a few tweaks and it was pretty darn good.  My changes:

Use half the celery root, double the kale, and one-third the olive oil.

Grate the veggies by hand, for a little arm workout.

Wash the kale after grating and let it retain some water. This will keep the avocado mixture smoother, since there is less olive oil.