Lentil, Beetroot, Fennel, Carrot & Celery Salad
Although it is still very cold here in Frankfurt at the moment, Springtime is slowly but surely drawing closer and I am beginning to think of lighter, fresher dishes once more. Having picked up a bag of pre-cooked beetroot last night, I was trying to think of a cool way to prepare it... and came up with the idea of this combination- great flavors and textures, colorful, easy, quick and fun! All that a healthy to boot! What's not to like?!?
Not quite being ready to face a "regular" salad- meaning a completely cold salad, I decided to make this dish instead- a combination of hot, freshly cooked lentils with other raw ingredients- and the result was pretty delicious- I recommend you try it out for yourselves!
The fact that the beets were already cooked, tender, sweet and perfect made this a lot quicker and easier to prepare than would otherwise have been the case- plus I got to nibble on the off-cuts from the beets whilst the lentils cooked- haha!
But first things first- the lentils needed to boil and simmer away for 20-25 minutes to become tender and I did this in some vegetable stock to give them extra flavor... but otherwise kept them plain and simple. I wanted each individual flavor of each of the ingredients to come into its own later, with just a simple dressing to help them along... but we will get to that shortly! In any case, I measured 2 handfuls for one nice, big suppertime serving :-) ... I was hungry!
Whilst the lentils simmered away, I sliced 2 beets and 1 carrot with a vegetable peeler to get them nice and thin... this ended up making the beets taste soft and silky smooth and the carrots light and crunchy. Next, I sliced up a quarter of a fennel bulb as thinly as I could too.
Basically, that was all the prep work except for a little dressing for the lentils- which I was ready to add after 20 minutes of cooking!
For the dressing, I added 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of honey to the hot lentils. I let them sit for 5-10 minutes in order to soak up these great flavors and then began to assemble my salad- starting with a few nice leaves of mint and then building up the layers as I went, a little at a time. I finished off by adding a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle fresh oregano leaves, a little white pepper and just a pinch of salt... and let me tell you that the combination of flavors and textures together was just amazing!
I hope you like this as much as I did!