I don’t remember having beet soup or raw, grated beet salad as a child. I think we always ate them boiled. I loved the sweet taste and the red color. I can still remember how they would slide around the plate leaving a pink path as I tried to spear a piece with my fork.
For this salad, I used a combination of red and yellow beets. I like to use french lentils in salads because they are firm and retain their shape. I served this on a bed of watercress. You could also take two handfuls of watercress, slice into thin ribbons and stir it right into the salad. Choose brightly colored watercress with no yellowing leaves and healthy looking roots.
Beet and Lentil Salad
1 cup cooked french lentils (about 1/3 cup dry)
4 medium beets, wash well, don’t peel
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 handfuls fresh parsley, chopped
1 bunch watercress (optional)
1. Cook the lentils if you still need to, adding a few pinches of sea salt near the end of cooking. When tender, pour them into a strainer and drain the liquid.
2. Cut off the knobby bits of the beets, but leave the peel on. Place the beets in a medium pot with a few moderate pinches of sea salt and about 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Let cook until the beets can be pierced with a knife or fork and seem fairly tender. Remove from heat and drain immediately to help preserve their flavor. Let cool.
3. In a medium size bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Set aside.
4. When beets are cool, cut them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch matchsticks or whatever shape you think would work well. Just try to make them uniform. Add the beets and lentils to the bowl and stir gently to combine. Stir in the parsley. Serve.
I usually cut the beets on a plate so my wooden cutting board doesn’t get stained, but this would also be a good use of a plastic cutting board,
You can add chopped fresh dill or other fresh herbs to this dish. Add when you whisk the dressing together.
Make sure to use a good quality vinegar. I like Eden brand. You can also use balsamic vinegar instead of the red wine vinegar.
Toasted pumpkin seeds make a nice addition. Add them right before serving to maintain their crunch or just sprinkle on top.