Because it’s still root vegetable and citrus season, and because I’m always looking for more ways to add lentils to my diet, I give you this vibrant salad. Phil and I enjoyed it for dinner the other night, along with some roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus. I think it would also be really tasty (and make for great potluck/picnic fare) combined with something grainy, such as quinoa or farro.
*Optional: Before cooking lentils, soak them in hot water with a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. I soaked mine for 5 hours. This makes them more easily digestible and reduces their cooking time, too.
*I also like to soak the chopped red onion in (cool) water while I prep the other ingredients. This helps tame its sharpness.
1 cup lentils, either beluga or French/de puy, picked over and rinsed
Couple splashes of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice, optional
1 piece dried kombu, optional
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3-4 small beets, scrubbed
¼ cup olive oil
3 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 tbsp chopped red onion, soaked and drained (see above note)
¼ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
generous handful of basil, chopped
generous handful of cilantro, chopped
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Wrap beets in foil, place in an oven safe dish, and roast for about an hour, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool, then peel and dice small.
- Place lentils and kombu (if using) in a pot, and cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until done (but not falling apart). Cooking time for the lentils will vary, depending on freshness and whether or not they’ve been soaked. My presoaked lentils were done in 15 minutes. Lentils that haven’t been soaked will take longer, closer to 30 or 40 minutes. So be sure to keep an eye on them and check regularly for doneness. Once cooked, drain (and discard kombu), give a quick rinse, then toss with 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.
- To make the dressing, whisk together or shake in closed jar the olive oil, orange and lemon juices, and some salt and pepper.
- Combine lentils, beets, dressing, and red onion, and season with salt and pepper. Top with pistachios and herbs. Taste for seasonings; you may wish to add more orange or lemon juice.
Yield: About 4 servings