July 20, 2009

Lentils with Golden Beets and Ginger

If you've not had the pleasure of trying golden beets, take a trip to your local market and pick some up today while they're still in season. This dish, inspired by Martha Stewart, is a delightful summertime meal. Easy and plentiful, it works well for dinner parties and picnics - especially since it pleases vegetarians, people with wheat and dairy allergies as well as my dad. It also saves well for leftovers.
Save the greens of the beets to make a salad or for juicing.
  • 6 medium beets, washed well and trimmed (set greens aside)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • about 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dried lentils (I used yellow in this recipe)
  • 6 fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey or agave
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons gram masala powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. Cook lentils as instructed on package - usually this requires that you rinse the lentils and then cook them in large pot covered with water on medium heat for about 40 minutes. For this recipe, add the ginger slices to the pot as well. Cooking time really depends on the the type of lentil you buy and how old they are. When they're tender, their done. Drain out excess water and discard ginger slices. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Steam beets in water and salt until tender, about 50 minutes. Keep an eye on the water level to make sure it doesn't go dry. Allow to cool enough to handle. Peel and quarter. Place in a small bowl, toss with a teaspoon of olive oil, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the grated ginger, vinegar, a pinch of salt, 1/4 olive oil, mint, and masala. Let stand 15 minutes.
  4. In a hot skillet, saute the onions until tender. Add the peppers and saute until tender also and a bit darkened on the edges. Add veggies to masala mixture and gently mix well. Pour masala and veggies over lentils and toss to coat.
  5. Transfer lentils to serving dish. Arrange beets on top of lentils and garnish with mint. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

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