Make the elements of this salad in advance and compose it on the plate when you want to eat it.
100g puy lentils
1 shallot, peeled and chopped finely
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cooked beetroots
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
100g feta cheese, crumbled
8 mint or basil leaves
1. Cook the puy lentils with the shallot in water until cooked but firm. Drain, season with salt and black pepper and toss with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar while still warm.
2. Purée the cooked beetroots with the clove of garlic and cumin seeds in a blender, food processor or nutribullet until very smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a spoon of water to loosen if you need to.
3. Make up the salad: spoon the lentils onto a plate, add a smear of beetroot purée, sprinkle with feta cheese and add the mint or basil leaves.
– If you are cooking the lentils in advance heat them in a saucepan over gentle heat before serving – you can eat them cold but they taste better when they are at least at room temperature and preferably warmed through.
– Look for the letters PDO on a packet of feta cheese – it means ‘Protected Designation of Origin’. You’ll be surprised to find that even the lowest-priced versions often carry it (look at the ingredient list on the back of the pack). It means that the feta cheese has been hand-made in Greece on a hill of mount Kithairon and is matured in wooden barrels for more than 4 months. It tastes better and it’s good for your gut bacteria because it is a naturally fermented food.
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