Red Lentil Salad with Feta and Beets
- SERVINGS: 4
Growing up in Burma, Toni Robertson learned to prepare Indian dishes from a neighbor. This main-course salad was inspired by a dal made with beets, one of Robertson's favorite vegetables.
- 4 small beets (3/4 pound)
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup red lentils (7 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 large bunch arugula (6 ounces), leaves torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 1/2 ounces feta cheese, preferably French, crumbled (1/2 cup)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Wrap the beets in foil and roast them for about 45 minutes, or until tender; let cool. Peel the beets and cut them into wedges.
- In a medium skillet, heat the grapeseed oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cumin and fennel seeds and cook just until fragrant. Remove from the heat and whisk in the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper and whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
- Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook just until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer to a bowl. Toss the lentils with half of the vinaigrette and let cool. Stir in the parsley.
- Toss the arugula and beets with the remaining vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Mound the salad on dinner plates and spoon the lentils on top. Garnish with the feta and serve.
This salad calls for a fresh Pinot Grigio to provide a lively contrast. Try one from Napa Valley.