If you ever thought salad is just some boring leaves or pasta with some kind of filling than think again. This roast beetroot and lentil salad is a great way to have a spectrum of macro and micro nutrients, flavour and not feeling hungry.
You might object to the amount it takes to cook/make this salad but I am suggesting some shortcuts like buying already cooked ingredients from your store. So the 2 ingredients that will take some time to cook are beetroot and lentils. There is an ok option of already cooked vacuumed beetroot which means it does’t have any preservatives. In terms of lentils you can find pre-cooked lentils that again do not have added preservatives so they make a good choice. However, I will always encourage to try and cook everything from scratch because you can control the quality.
- Chicory – Rich in mucilaginous fibre helping lubricate the intestines. Aids digestions through its bitterness. The same substance (lactucopirin) has a mild sedative effect;
- Lentils – High in molybdenum and iron which help oxygenate the blood. High in insoluble fibres which keeps the cholesterol levels healthy;
- Beetroot – has liver cleansing action by stimulating the production of glutathione;
- Pomegranate – Contains polyphenols keep arteries elastic. Somestudies show that pomegranate extracts can block the production of an enzyme that destroys cartilage in the body. Seeds contain beneficial fats.
Roast beetroot and lentil salad
- 500g green lentils (dry or pre-cooked)
- 2 heads of red radicchio
- 3 large beetroots
- 1 orange
- 1 pomegranate
- 100g pine nuts
- 120 g chorizo (about half of a shop bought chorizo ring)
- Dill (optional)
Wash the beetroot and put in a pan and cover with water. Simmer the beetroot gently (don’t boil) for about 40min or until you can run easily a knife throught it. If you a pressed by time you can use a shop bought vacuum packed as this one is cooked in it’s natural juices and vacuuming means that it will not have added preservatives. However, I will always prioritize cooking your own as you have control over the quality of beetroot and also tastes a lot nicer than pre-cooked. If you cook your own make sure from time to time you top up the pan with some boiling water (from the kettle) as the water will evaporate and you want to ensure the tops of beetroot are cooking the same as the rest.
At the same time put the green lentils to cook in a pan with simmering water. The water should be comfortably 10cm above the lentils. Put a cinnamon stick, a few star anise and a 1tbsp of salt in with the water. This will ensure your lentils will have nice flavour and will not taste bland. Simmer gently (again, don’t boil) as you want the lentils to still keep their shape. Again, if pressurized by time you can buy the pre-cooked puy lentils (puy, green, brown, French or dark varieties will be fine). Just make sure to check the back of pack and see they do not contain any of the added preservatives or ingredients. After cooked, cut the end where the leaves have been and then cut in quarters or large chunks like you would with an apple.
Remove the larger outerleaves of the radicchio (discard any that really damaged or cut from where they are damaged). Keep those to decorate the outer edge of a bowl or platter. Cut the rest in fine shreds. Cut the chorizo in cubes and put them in a pan (no oil required as sausage will release fat) and gently fry to get a bit of colour. Remove from the pan and put on one side. In the same pan where you still have a bit of oil from the chorizo add the pine nuts and put the pan back on the heat. Shake the pine nuts until they get some colour. Put these on the side as well.
On a platter or a large bowl place the large radicchio leaves on the outer edge. In the middle place the cooked lentils, shredded radicchio, the beetroot slices/chunks and chorizo. Half the pomegranate and use the juice of half of it to squeeze onto the lentil mixture (just press tightly – you will need a good grip but good exercise ) and the other half take the seeds out. The easiest way to do so is by holding the pomegranate in your palm, your fingers holding the edge and your palm naturally forming a sieve, cut side down and bashing the top with a spoon or a rolling pin. The seeds will come out fairly easily. Grate the orange zest on top of the lentils. After that, juice half of the lemon and pour the juice on top of lentils while the other half peel and cut in nice roundels. Pour about 4 tbsp of olive oil and add some salt onto the mixture. Gently fold the lentils with the juices and other ingredients and decorate with pomegranate seeds, orange roundels, pine nuts and some dill springs.