Saturday, May 22, 2010

French Lentils with Shocking Beet Vinaigrette

A few days ago I told my beloved that I had been researching Red Velvet Cake. He listened as I talked about it for a few minutes, and when I was done, he rather timidly suggested I think about making something healthy.

I was only mildly indignant. i make healthy food! However, I had just finished looking over my new (and might I add, exciting) Recipe Index, and had realized I have been a little preoccupied with the sweeter side of the kitchen. But it didn't bother me so much. I thought maybe it was just a sure sign of where my interests really are. Dessert. Cakes. Custards. I like how they look even in print.

But then yesterday morning I found myself making a batch of Crumiri before 10am, and I realized maybe my beloved is right--it is time for a pendulum swing back to the healthier side of life.

I made lentils. Beautiful, green, turtley-looking french lentils. And then I had this beet and these garlic scapes. And then I had this recipe for a beet vinaigrette. Love passed between us all.

This photo does NOT do the lovely lentils justice...

I am of the belief that this beet vinaigrette would be spectacular on greens too. It is tart and sweet and earthy. Though I put parsley on my bowl, it was overpowering and I do not recommend it. Note that I listed tomato in the ingredients. They looked terrible photographed with the beet sauce--red and fuchsia--but they tasted very nice.

Share the love.

French Lentil Salad with Shocking Beet Vinaigrette (adapted from Vegetarian Planet)
This vinaigrette is quite thick because of the raisins. If you wish to serve it on a salad and not lentils, or if its consistency unnerves you, add 3 tablespoons oil or water and adjust the seasonings to suit you taste.

2 cups french lentils

1 medium beet
4 garlic scapes, cut into pieces
1/4 cup raisins
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown spicy mustard
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) salt
pepper to taste

1 avocado
diced tomato

Rinse lentils and then cover with at least two inches of water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 35 minutes, or until lentils are just tender, not too chewy, and not falling apart.

Meanwhile, scrub and trim beet and cover in a saucepan with water. Boil (maybe with others too, for another use) until tender, about 30 minutes. When done, run cold water over them and slip off the skin. Cut into pieces.

Meanwhile still...saute scapes in a little water until bright green and tender. Do not overcook. Remove from pan and chop into smaller pieces.

Combine beet, vinegar, salt, pepper, scapes, mustard and ginger in a food processor or blender and whirl until more or less smooth. With the processor still running, pour in the oil in a pencil-width stream and let whirl until smooth and emulsified.

Dollop on lentils in individual bowls, where tomatoes are hidden beneath the surface. Slice some avocado on top. Enjoy!


  1. This sounds great, Amanda. I love beets, I love french lentils. Would be interested to know how you made your recipe index. That is, how it's a separate page from but still attached to your blog. I'll be needing to do that myself soon. And finally, and not to derail your healthier bent, but did you see the lemon-cream braided bread on smittenkitchen?

  2. Yeah, not to wreck my whole healthier bunny-trail, but I needed to know about that beloved did also mention my need for a bread bunny-trail...and I think filled breads should totally count!