Brown lentils are my new best friends. Cooked properly, they provide a dish with a satisfying ‘bite’, different from the mushiness of red lentils and the softer texture of the green lentils. Brown lentils, therefore, are the ideal candidate for sides served cold, like this Brown Lentil and Beetroot Salad.
At face value, this recipe seems like it’s been cobbled together using odd and ends from around the pantry. Then you eagerly pop a spoonful into your mouth and realise that the lentils and beetroot, both earthy in quality, go rather well together.
Combined with the satisfying crunch and nutty quality of toasted pumpkin seeds, this brown lentil and beetroot salad is somewhat more moreish than you at first gave it credit for. Sneaky.
One important direction to note is not over-toasting the pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds “pop”, rather like popcorn kernels, though not as spectacularly. Since it’s best that they retain their original texture, brown them gently and remove from the heat just as they begin to snap.
Brown Lentil and Beetroot Salad
- 200g brown lentils
- 2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
- 4 bay leaves
- a small handful of fresh thyme and rosemary
- 150g pickled beetroot, large chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 50g pumpkin seeds
- a twist of black pepper
- Tip the lentils into a large saucepan and cover with half of the prepared stock. Add the bay leaves and herbs. Cover and bring to the boil.
- The lentils will quickly soak up the stock. Keep adding more until the lentils are just cooked through. The pan should be relatively dry.
- Remove the herbs and bay leaves and set aside to cool. Once cool add the beetroot and olive oil.
- In a separate pan gently toast the pumpkin seeds and add to the salad. Season with pepper, mix everything together thoroughly and serve.
Cost: Lentils. Beetroot. Stock. Sounds like a recipe for frugality to me. And it is. The entire Brown Lentil and Beetroot Salad can be made for under £1.50.