Lentil Salad with Asparagus and Artichoke Hearts

This recipe has a few more ingredients than my usual ones, but it’s worth the effort!  The flavors are magnificent.  You can use leftover chicken to save time and substitute any veggies you have on hand for the asparagus (peppers, broccoli, etc.).  The lentils cook quickly and dinner can be ready in less than 30 minutes.  Great cold the next day for leftovers!  Double the recipe for larger families or more leftovers.

Lentil Salad with Asparagus and Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients:

½ cup dried lentils
1-2 bunches asparagus, broken into bite-sized pieces (or other veggies)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1-2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (optional)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
¾ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 tsp dried basil
½ tsp salt
One, 8 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts (drained, reserve the marinade)

Instructions:

Bring 3 cups water to boil and stir in lentils.  Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes until tender.   Drain water when finished cooking.  If adding chicken, use leftovers or bake in oven while lentils are cooking. 

Place about ¼ inch of water in a large fry pan and steam asparagus about 5 minutes, until just tender. 

Chop artichoke hearts into small pieces, reserving marinade.

Meanwhile, whisk together oil, vinegar, artichoke marinade, and garlic.  Stir in warm lentils, cooked chicken, tomatoes and asparagus.  Serve as is or over lettuce for a salad or in a wrap.