Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. I was going to do another oldie but goodie, but then I decided to try something new for dinner. We went to see David Sedaris in Boulder and it was late when we got home. But if David Sedaris comes to speak near you, go! It was so much fun.
This recipe is inspired by one that I made from an epicurious recipe a while back. We had some left over lentils so I decided to try my own variation. This is a super healthy but very tasty salad. Lentils are a great source of protein, fiber several amino acids, vitamin B, and other good things. All the different colored veggies mean you’re getting all kinds of nutrients. I particularly like it because of the texture. We forget how important texture is when we eat. This one has many different textures between the lentils and the different kinds of veggies so it’s nice to eat. Even better–it’s tasty!
Beets often get a bad rap, but they are chock full of a giant list of vitamins and minerals. In fact, I had never really had beets until a few weeks ago. Ben (my husband) and I are doubling our garden space for next year. We were thinking about what new kinds of crops we would like to grow. We tried several new things last year and loved all of them. So we went to the farmers market and got kale and beets to eat to see if we wanted to plant them. We loved them both! Beets are a very earthy vegetable, there is no disguising that they are a root. But they are also sweet and have a wonderful texture when roasted. You can get your normal red beets from the grocery store, but you can also get golden and other colored beets from your farmers market and your garden. The most fun part is that after you have worked with them it looks like you have killed something from all of the red staining on your hands.
Swiss Chard is also highly underrated. We planted it on a whim and it has become our favorite veggie. It is high in vitamins A, K, and C (it has 2x your daily need of A, and a whopping 7x the amount of K) as well as having some protein and fiber. We love it because it grows all year long until (even through) your first frosts. You can cook it much like spinach. The reason it has a bad reputation is because people over cook it. Lightly sautéed or steamed is wonderful. I have directions below on how to cook it properly.
It may seem when you see the recipe that there are a lot of steps. There are if you make it all at once. But I keep roasted veggies around in the fridge. I love to add some into a salad. It gives what you’re eating so much more flavor and variety. The dressing I always just have on hand around the house. The chard is super fast to make at the time–so fast that if you’re not careful you will overcook it and it won’t be so delicious. The lentils can easily be made ahead of time. They are good to add into soups or salads for extra protein.
The dressing is made with a wonderful product I found at Penzey’s Spices called Raspberry Enlightenment . Check the website to see if there is one near you. The one near us is in Olde Town Arvada. I walk in and every time I just have to stop and smell. It is a mecca for anyone who loves to cook. I got the recipe from the store. It is great because it’s a lovely fruit taste without being overly sweet. Of course, if you can’t make this dressing you can use any vinaigrette dressing you like–or even just plain balsamic vinegar would be great with this.
Lentil and Roasted Veggie Salad with Goat Cheese Points: 2 a cup without dressing or cheese, dressing is 1 pt a tablespoon, cheese 1 pt for 1 oz.
Problem: The original was a bit restricted on veggies and I wasn’t a huge fan of the dressing.
Solution: Add more veggies and made a new dressing!
- 3-4 large (6-8 small ones) roasted beets, either red or gold.
- 2 carrots, roasted
- 1 cup chopped scallions, bottoms and greens included.
- 1 large bunch of swiss chard or kale (about 6 cups chopped as directed below)
- Any other roasted veggies you like.
- 4 c cooked lentils (about half a bag from the grocery store. Cook according to bag directions and until they are a texture you like. We like them a bit al dente).
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Raspberry Enlightenment Dressing (recipe below)
- .5 oz goat cheese per serving
Directions for Salad:
- Cook your lentils according to the package. I like to do this ahead of time because I like to have them cold for this salad.
- Roast your veggies. I used beets and carrots, but you can use any root veggie you like (preferably flavorful ones, normal white potatoes wouldn’t do well). For the beets, do not peel them. Cut off the leaves about 1 inch above the top of the root. This will keep the beet from “bleeding” into your other veggies. KEEP THE LEAVES! Beets are related to chard. So if you don’t have enough chard, you can chop up the beet leaves to use in addition. For the carrots, peel them and cut into 3-4 pieces per large carrot. Prepare your other root veggies similarly. For the grill: wrap the veggies in an aluminum packet. You may want to do your beets separately to prevent bleeding onto the other veggies. Roast on your grill for about 45 min until tender. For the oven: put into a baking dish and roast at at least 425 for about 45 min until tender. Separate beets to prevent bleeding.
- Once the veggies are done roasting, let them cool off a bit. Once you can handle the beets, peel them with your hands. The peel should come right off. Chop them into salad size pieces. You can do all of this ahead of time and keep it in your fridge.
- Put the lentils, chopped roasted veggies, fresh thyme (taken off of the twigs, obviously) and chopped up scallions in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and ground pepper and mix.
- Chard/beet greens: cut off the stems at the base of the leaf. Stack 5-8 leaves up on top of each other and roll them until they make a long roll (do it lengthwise). Cut them into 1 inch strips. Repeat until you have chopped all the greens. Melt 1/2 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet/frying pan. Add in the chard one handfull at a time. With each handful sprinkle salt and grind some pepper on it. Stir until that bunch is just starting to wilt, then add another handful, salt, and pepper. Once you have added all of it in the skillet add in 1 tbsp of rice vinegar, or red wine vinegar. Stir constantly until all the leaves are half way wilted, but still a good green color (if they get dark you have over cooked it).
- Add the chard to the bowl with the other ingredients. Toss it well with tongs or two spoons so that the chard is well incorporated.
- Put a serving on your plate and top with the dressing (you can also use a good balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette). Sprinkle some goat cheese on top. I find that about .5 oz (1pt) is plenty to still give the zesty tang without a ton of points.
Directions for Raspberry Enlightenment Dressing
Shake up all the following ingredients in a jar. I find that a salsa or pasta sauce jar works well:
- 1/2 c olive oil or canola oil (I like to have half of each)
- 1/4 c rice or white wine vinegar
- 3-4 Tbsp of Raspberry Enlightenment
- 1 tsp dried sweet basil
- 1/2 tsp flaked kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper