This is a perfect pairing of earthy flavors that complement each other beautifully with very little effort once the beets are roasted and the lentils are cooked. In the recipe that follows I have added the flavor of basil and walnuts via vinaigrette that is stirred into the lentils. Eaten with the roasted beets the zesty basil and walnut spiked lentils bring out brightness in the deep earthiness of the beets. A hearty and healthy once course meal that will satisfy even the salad adverse!
To roast the beets and cook the lentils see Beets; How to roast and Lentils; How to cook (posted in Basics)
basil walnut vinaigrette
Recipe: Basil Walnut Vinaigrette
Makes 1 cup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped sweet basil leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt + more to taste
- several twists of freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup walnut oil
- 1/2 cup light olive oil
- 1/3 cup walnut pieces
Combine the mustard, vinegar, basil, and salt and pepper in a food processor, or blender, and process for a minute. Turn off the machine and scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Pulse several times to combine. With the motor running, slowly add the oils in a very slow steady stream. Once all the oil is added the vinaigrette will have emulsified and thickened. Stop the motor. Add the walnut pieces and pulse several times and then run the motor until the walnuts are completely incorporated and the vinaigrette is smooth. Taste and correct with additional salt if needed.
Place in a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
Recipe: Roasted Beet and Lentil Salad
- 4-6 chilled roasted beets, cut into bite size pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups chilled cooked lentils
- 1/2 cup basil walnut vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 to 1 head radicchio, cut into thin ribbons(chiffonade) + 4 medium whole radicchio leaves
- 1/2 cup torn celery leaves
- 2 hands full of rocket or watercress (optional)
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
Place the chilled beets in a bowl and add the olive oil and lemon juice and toss to glaze well. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the salad.
To the chilled cooked lentils add the basil walnut vinaigrette and mint leaves and stir to combine well. Taste the vinaigrette and season with salt & freshly ground pepper if needed. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the salad.
To assemble the salad place 1 whole radicchio leaf on each salad plate set to one side. Toss the radicchio, celery leaves, and optional rocket, or watercress, if using. Add a cluster of radicchio mixture (undressed) to each plate in the center. Top the radicchio mixture with a portion of beets. Scatter some red onions over the beets and top with some walnut pieces.
Fill each whole radicchio leaf with a 1/2 cup portion of the lentil/basil vinaigrette mixture.
Add a twist of fresh ground pepper over all and…voila…serve!