This past Friday afternoon was not one of my finest days.

cherry tomatoes

It was 4pm and I’d been at work since 9. My stomach had been off since shortly after breakfast and a dull headache had been lingering that just wouldn’t go away, even after surrendering to Advil and chugging a huge bottle of water. My space heater was on, yet shivers were running down my body. And while I normally stand at my adjustable stand-up desk, I’d been sitting for the majority of the day. By 4 o’clock, I decided to call it quits and pack up early.

garlic bulb

If you’re someone who suffers from migraines or if you’ve had one in the past, you may be very familiar with the visual cues that happen at the onset. For me, these include random things like balls of light bouncing around in front of me, objects growing and shrinking – pretty much what I imagine someone on hallucinogenic drugs would see while high. No amount of blinking or squinting makes them go away; your head just gets more and more sore and you start to become nauseous. Essentially, it’s a great big suckfest.

The Best Lentil Salad

On this occasion, there were no bouncy balls and nothing was growing and shrinking in peculiar ways. All the other signs were there though, so I knew I had to get home fast. There was just enough time to open my apartment door, drop my bags, take off my boots and jacket, and crawl into bed before the nausea hit hard and I knew I’d be out of commission for the rest of the night.

green lentils

I woke up periodically over the next couple of hours, each time with the goal of removing one more piece of my work clothes and putting on my pajamas without barfing all over the place – a Herculean challenge in the state I was in. Naturally, my inner foodie kept asking if there was anything in the kitchen that might make me feel better. It isn’t often that I want zero food, but this was one of those rare times.

green lentils

After mentally exhausting all of my food options, I bawled in my bed for a few minutes, probably making some hilarious ugly crying faces while my mascara gave me racoon eyes. Strangely this protocol seems to make migraines somewhat tolerable, along with rocking back and forth and twirling my hair…. yeah I know, I’m weird.

Having wallowed in self-pity for about 15 minutes, I texted my roommate Jess who had just come home from work, requesting water and an ice pack. I don’t think she’s ever seen me in such rough shape, but in true best-roomie-ever fashion, she brought them immediately. Seriously, she’s the best.

The Best Lentil Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

The tossing and turning continued until I finally fell asleep again for the rest of the night, waking up briefly at 10pm for some crackers and an orange which was about all I could stomach at the time. Saturday was a bit of a write-off, with my appetite non-existent and food intake consisting almost entirely of fruit. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is absolutely 100% NOT normal, but I was pretty sure that when said appetite did return, it’d be back with a vengeance. So in preparation, I made sure there was something both healthy and filling waiting in the fridge on Sunday.

The Best Lentil Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

It might just be because I hadn’t eaten a proper meal in 24 hours, but this salad tasted so good that I’m calling it The Best Lentil Salad – or at least the best one I’ve ever made. It took a whopping 10 minutes to make and I’ve enjoyed it for lunch every day this week. Best of all, it’s doing a perfectly good job of satisfying my ravenous appetite, which I’m pleased to report has most definitely returned!

The Best Lentil Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

The Best Lentil Salad

by Angela Simpson

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Ingredients (about 4.5 cups)

  • 1 ½ cups green or brown lentils, uncooked and thoroughly rinsed
  • 2 cups low-sodium broth + 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 generous tablespoon fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey (raw if possible. For a vegan alternative, substitute with agave syrup or omit)
  • dash of sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

Boil lentils in the water and broth mixture for 20-25 minutes. They should be tender but not mushy when finished. (Note: If you have time to soak your lentils for a few hours beforehand, this will reduce cooking time by about half and increase digestibility. I soaked mine for about 3 hours and they only needed 9 minutes.) Be sure to watch occasionally and add a bit more water if needed.

Meanwhile, chop the onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, thyme and parsley. Put them all in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together the dressing in a small dish.

When lentils have cooked, strain off any excess liquid and pour them in the mixing bowl. Drizzle the dressing over top and toss everything to coat.

Season to taste with black pepper and sea salt if desired. (If you’ve cooked your lentils in broth, there isn’t much need for salt.) Serve warm or cold.

The Best Lentil Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

So tell me…

  • Do you (or have you in the past) suffered from migraines? What’s your usual routine for getting through them? Mine involves getting in bed ASAP, popping a Gravol and some meds (called Imitrex) from my doctor, and sleeping for about 12 hours. This used to happen a lot more frequently in my early teens but now it’s only a couple of times per year.
  • What are YOU eating for lunch this week?