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Hello, bloggies.

This week, you’ve all shown an incredible response to the news of my special January 2010 cleanse program. I’m glad that you’re enthusiastic, and can’t wait to start!

This said, though, I’m not typically a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’m of the mind that I should live each day to my best potential, and hold myself to a high standard all year round, and putting emphasis on January 1st tends to distract me from that way of being. So this year—as always—I don’t have any big resolutions to share with you all.

I do have some small ones, though: odds and ends I’ve been meaning to take care of. I need to clean my office more regularly. I should get better at my own budgeting and accounting. I should really stop taking cabs at night (though if it continues to hover at sixteen degrees in NYC, cabs may stick around for a bit). And at the top of the list? I’m going to play with sprouting.

I really like sprouts. I don’t L-O-V-E them, the way some raw foodists L-O-V-E them. They’re good, and they’ve very healthy, and I eat them whenever I can, but I also don’t bow down and worship at the sprout altar. I do, however, feel really lame when I purchase them: even if I’m purchasing them from someone whom I like to support, like my buddy Stewart, who works at the Green Market in Union Square and grows the world’s freshest sunflower sprouts, I know that I could have saved some money and packaging. It’s really easy to sprout at home, and whenever I do it, I’m annoyed at myself for not doing it more often.

So here’s something to expect from Choosing Raw in 2010: some sprouting 101 posts. In the meantime, I like to believe that my blog accommodates readers who, like me, don’t always have time for DIY ventures, but who still might crave sprouts spontaneously every now and again. And when these moments occur on short notice, there are always these:

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That’s right. Boxed sprouts from The Sproutman. These may not be homemade, but they’re usually quite fresh (if you’re sure to purchase them from a vendor you trust, and check the expiration date carefully), quite tasty, and, best of all, quite easy to work with! I enjoy the clover and alfalfa sprouts, the adzuki bean sprouts, and the lentil sprouts best. You can find the brand at most health food stores nowadays, and even at some chain supermarkets.

Remember French lentil salad? It’s a warm, delicious treat, usually made with lentilles de Puy (small, green, French lentils), carrot, onion, celery, and fennel. Sometimes it contains goat cheese or bacon ( but we like to pretend those times don’t happen). The salad is usually dressed with a dijon vinaigrette. I often enjoy it in the traditional form: I eat legumes sprouted AND cooked, and find that cooking them sometimes enhances digestion (for me). But I also enjoy them sprouted, and this week, I was in the mood to put a fresh, lemony raw twist on the classic lentil dish.

With that, my lentil salad was born. The base, of course, is a bed of sprouted lentils. To it, I added carrots, celery, a bit of sunflower sprouts, and a creamy, lemony dressing. I finished it with a clover sprout garnish.

If you use the boxed lentils, this dish should take about ten minutes to make. It’s a great lunch all on its own—fast, filling, and rich in iron and protein. For dinner, it would be great with a tasty bowl of raw soup. I didn’t have parsley on hand, but it occurred to me that parsley would make a fine garnish or chopped addition to the salad.

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Lentil Sprout Salad (serves 2-4)

For the salad:

1 cup lentils

1 cup carrots, chopped or grated finely

1 cup celery, diced finely

½ cup sunflower sprouts

½ cup clover sprouts

For the dressing:

1 zucchini, chopped

½ cup lemon juice

¼ cup nutritional yeast

3 tbsp agave syrup or 1 packet stevia

3 tbsp nama shoyu or tamari

3 tbsp ground flax seed

¼ cup water

½ tsp coriander

Blend all dressing ingredients on high till smooth and creamy. Mix salad ingredients, divide into four bowls, and top with the dressing as desired.

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The star of this meal is, in many ways, the lemony dressing. I love that it isn’t too high in oil; instead, I use zucchini as a base and some ground flax as a thickener. The resulting salad is slightly miscombined, for all of you who follow food combining, since flax is a nut/seed and legumes typically combine as starches or proteins. But the small bit of flax in this dressing, I’ve found, doesn’t give me any trouble when I combine it with starches or proteins at all.

I hope you get to enjoy this fast and nourishing bowl sometime soon. With the holidays in full swing and temperatures dropping, it’s a good time of year for quick and nutritious meals. Enjoy!

xo

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