I love lentils. There, I’ve said it. They are so picked on and ignored as a foodstuff but do not deserve their bad press at all. A nutritional powerhouse, easy to cook and really cheap and filling too. Quite why they are so derided is beyond me!
There is an image of lentils soaking for days and taking ages to boil. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Puy lentils take only around 20mins to cook. This recipe used Puy lentils which go under several names including French lentils or bulga lentils. You will recognise them because they are tiny and look a dark green/black. They don’t particularly expand when you cook them and in this recipe it’s important not to use the tinned version as they are too cooked – you want them to retain their shape and bite.
In this recipe I have used fresh beetroot. Again, don’t use the pre-cooked version as it’s too soft and watery. When you bake the beetroot for this dish it’s soft inside but gets its own ‘crust’ from roasting so doesn’t mush into the salad or spread its colour over the other ingredients. Plus it’s really easy to do and will bake while your lentils are boiling.
If you would like you can eat this salad warm but it’s great cold too. I use it as a base salad and add a new protein each time – you could try feta, tofu, Quorn or chicken. Because lentils are so cheap and in the summer beetroot is a bargain this dish is very reasonable. This mix will make 4-6 portions and comes in at around £2.40, so about 40p-60p a pop.
Beetroot, Lentil and Somac salad
- 4 med-large fresh beetroot chopped into wedges or cubes
- 250g uncooked puy lentils
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- large bunch of flat-leaf parsley
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons of somac
- Step 1 Cook the lentils with the onion and stock cube for about 20 to 25mins, they should still have a little bite and not be mushy. Drain any excess water and leave to cool.
- Step 2 While they are cooking, peel the beetroot and slice into wedges or cubes according to taste. Make sure they are pretty much the same size so they will cook evenly. Spray or rub on a little olive oil and bake in a 180c/350f oven for approx. 20 to 25mins. They should be cooked but still firm.
- Step 3 Remove the hard stalks of the parsley and chop.
- Step 4 When cool, combine all the salad ingredients, in a jar or container mix all the dressing ingredients together and dress the salad.
- Step 5