Here’s a beautiful summer salad that I think is still good in winter because of its earthy flavours. It brings together some of my favourite tastes. Do make sure you get the little dark Puy, or French, lentils because they hold their shape and won’t disintegrate when you cook them, unlike most other types of lentils. You could also use goat cheese instead of fetta.
Give yourself time in advance to cook the beetroot – it takes at least an hour in the oven. Even better – cook it the day before you need to use it.
- 1 beetroot
- 1 cup Puy lentils
- 1/2 red onion, diced finely
- About 1 cup of crumbled fetta (use Dodoni if you can get it)
- Large handful of fresh mint, washed and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar (or red wine vinegar).
Heat the oven to 180. Wrap the beetroot – unpeeled – in foil and place in the oven for about an hour and 15 minutes. Remove and let it cool down in the foil. When its cool enough to handle, peel the skin off, which will come away quite easily. Dice the beetroot and set aside.
While the beetroot is cooking, put the lentils in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Drain and let cool.
Put the lentils and beetroot in a bowl, and add the onion and mint, and mix through. Whisk the oil and vinegar together. Add this dressing to the salad, season with salt and pepper and toss through. Just before you serve, add the fetta and gentely mix through.