Lentil, roast beetroot, fetta and herb salad

lentil-beetroot-fetta-salad

This is a tasty and substantial winter salad recipe that can be enjoyed as a meal in itself or to compliment your favourite protein.

Lentils are high in fibre which lowers bad cholesterol and helps prevent blood sugars from rising sharply after a meal. They are a good source of protein for vegetarians and are loaded with vitamins and minerals particularly folate which plays an important role in DNA synthesis and repair, and aids tissue growth. Folate is an essential nutrient for pregnant women particularly the first trimester.

Beetroot, known as beet in the US, is also an excellent source of folate. Traditionally revered for helping purify the blood and liver, beetroot is widely credited for aiding the body’s detoxification process. Beetroot has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is one of nature’s richest sources of glutamine, an amino acid essential to the health and maintenance of the intestinal tract.

Parsley and coriander/cilantro are rich in phyto nutrients and are both excellent sources of vitamin k. Fresh lemon juice is wonderfully alkalising and has a number of properties that aid digestion and help alleviate the symptoms of bloating and heartburn.

To improve the digestibility of this salad, I like to soak the lentils overnight before cooking. However, if you’re short of time this step is not essential or you can choose tinned lentils instead.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized beetroot/beets (or substitute with a 400g/14 oz tin if you prefer)
  • Large handful of parsley leaves, approx 10g or ⅓ oz
  • Large handful of coriander/cilantro leaves, approx 10g or ⅓ oz
  • 200g/7oz black (French) lentils (or substitute with a 400g/14 oz tin if you prefer)
  • 100g/3.5 oz fetta
  • 30g/1oz rocket/arugula
  • Half a french onion
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 0.5 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. If you have time, soak the lentils overnight (ideally for at least 12 hours) then rinse
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Peel the beetroot and cut into smallish chunks (roughly 2.5cm/1 inch each side), drizzle with approximately 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil and roast for an hour
  4. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to the boil and cook the lentils for 20-25 minutes. If you don’t have time you can use tinned lentils instead
  5. Finely chop the onion, parsley and coriander/cilantro leaves
  6. Mix the salad dressing ingredients in a small glass jar and shake well
  7. Place the lentils, beetroot, herbs, rocket and onion into a large salad bowl
  8. Gradually add the dressing until there’s plenty to cover the salad ingredients but not too much (you may not need to use all the dressing)
  9. Crumble the fetta over the top

This salad can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

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