A warm salad of lentils, beetroot, and salty feta with a sprightly sprinkle of mint. Makes a lovely lunch or side dish.
If pressed for time, you can substitute a couple tins of cooked lentils (drained and rinsed) and a couple packs of pre-cooked and peeled beetroot (not the pickled stuff). It won’t be quite as fresh-tasting, but it means you can have lunch on the table in under five minutes. Not bad!
Feeds 4 as a main, up to 8 as a side
800g raw beetroot
200g dried green lentils (lentilles vertes)
200g feta cheese
For the dressing:
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Lots of salt and pepper
1 tsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
Place the unpeeled beetroot in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a big pinch of salt to the water, then bring to the boil and cook until beets are tender. This can take anywhere from 20 – 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Drain, run under cold water and peel. Chop into wedges, dress with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt, and leave to one side.
Tip: Once boiled, the skins will peel off the beets using your fingers. If, however, you’d like to avoid looking like you’ve orchestrated a beet-fuelled murder, a vegetable peeler makes the job very easy.
Mix the dressing ingredients together, apart from the oil. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking, then check the seasoning and add more salt, vinegar or oil if required. (This is dressing a lot of lentils, so make sure you add enough salt.)
Meanwhile, cook the lentils by bringing them to the boil in unsalted water. Cook until tender – but not mushy – and drain. Dress the cooked lentils while they’re still warm, then transfer the dressed lentils to a large bowl.
Add the chunks of beetroot on top of the lentils, then roughly chunk over the feta cheese, leaving a few larger pieces. Tear a few mint leaves over the top – leaving small ones whole – and drizzle over a final bit of olive oil.
Serve warm or at room temperature.