It’s been a minute, dear readers. I hadn’t planned on waiting until February to post my first recipe of 2017, but despite my best intentions (and chocolatey experiments) (which will most definitely be revisited), here we are.
January was certainly eventful. On the 21st I rode the bus with my sister Xan and her fourteen year old daughter down to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March. Being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people standing up to the new POTUS and his agenda of hate was amazing and empowering; I felt hopeful. Meanwhile, back in NY, my family had a good scare when my mom suffered a medical emergency. She’d become very ill due to complications from surgery, then even more ill when she went to the ER and was met with total incompetence. Thankfully she got the care she needed just in time (at another facility; shout out to the wonderful doctors and nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital) and is okay now.
Of course the now daily barrage of crazy news is enough to drive anyone mad. Still, it’s imperative that we stay informed, and never become desensitized or complacent. We need to stay strong and focused, figure out our next steps. And while I’m way too much of a realist to ever look at the world through rose tinted glasses, I’ll gladly fuel my fight with a rose tinted salad. This one is nourishing and bright, with textural variety, tons of flavor, and a pinkish hue thanks to roasted beets. Meyer lemon and hazelnuts make it feel like a treat, while lentils and sorghum help to sustain us through these exhausting times.
*Optional: Before cooking lentils, soak them in hot water with a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This makes them more easily digestible and also reduces their cooking time. I soaked mine overnight.
1 cup sorghum, rinsed
3 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water + ½ bouillon cube)
¾ cup black lentils, rinsed and sorted, soaked if desired (see note above)
2 tsp of vinegar (I used apple cider)
a few small beets, scrubbed
1/3 cup hazelnuts
1/3 cup meyer lemon juice (from ~2 meyer lemons)
2 tsp meyer lemon zest
1/3 cup olive oil (plus a tiny bit more for sorghum)
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
optional: salad greens for serving
- Place sorghum, water/stock, and a drop of olive oil in a saucepan and cook over high heat until boiling. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 50-60 minutes (mine took 60) or until tender but still a little chewy. Drain and let cool.
- Meanwhile, make the lentils. Place lentils 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 previously soaked lentils were done in 15 minutes; lentils that haven’t been soaked will take longer, closer to 25 minutes. So be sure to keep an eye on them and check regularly for doneness. Once cooked, drain, then toss with 2 tsp of vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, make the beets. 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.
- Turn oven down to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, keeping a close watch, until browned and fragrant. Remove from pan and wrap in a dishtowel. Let sit for a minute (this will trap in the steam), then rub through the towel to remove the loose skins. Don’t worry about getting all the skins off– you only want get rid of the excess bits that would come off in your mouth (not pleasant). Roughly chop.
- To make the dressing, place the meyer lemon juice, olive oil, chopped thyme, and a dash of salt and pepper in a jar. Seal tightly and shake vigorously to combine.
- Mix together the lentils, sorghum, beets, and most of the dressing, setting aside some for leftovers (the sorghum will soak it up!). Season with salt and pepper, and top with hazelnuts and zest. Serve as is or with salad greens.
Yield: About 6 servings