I experimented with this recipe a few weeks ago when I was really feeling for something warm, earthy, grounding and comforting. I'm not always in the mood for pulses as I find lentils, chickpeas and beans quite starchy and rich, but sometimes something within me really craves something within them; perhaps protein, perhaps their many other vitamins or minerals, or perhaps even their association with certain chakras. Lentils (reddish/brown or generally dark in colour, like puy or beluga) are thought to help sooth and support the root chakra, and in some cases (usually depending on their colour) are believed to open up the heart chakra (green lentils) and solar plexus chakra (yellow lentils).
This dish is best served warm but can also be enjoyed cold, as a side or stirred through salads. I made this with friends and, although I don't tend to eat dairy, or animal milk products in general, we made an option with fresh, organic goats cheese. If you are vegan or, like me, avoid animal milk products, of course you can easily leave it out, or replace it with vegan cheese, sauteed tofu or tempeh, grilled or sautéd paprika smoked cauliflower, houmous or a spoonful of coconut milk or coconut yoghurt, or anything else you fancy that adds a similar kind of tangy, saltiness to counter the subtle sweetness of the dish.
200g puy lentils, cooked and strained
2 small beetroots
1 teaspoon brown miso paste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons organic / raw honey (or other natural sweetener of choice)
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons lemon juice
A few drops of apple cider vinegar
1-2 chopped dates (could also use raisins or dried apricots)
Salt + pepper, as desired
To Top (optional)
A handful of raw walnuts
1/2 teaspoon walnut oil
A pinch of fresh lemon thyme, thyme, majoram, rosemary or other fresh herbs - to top
If you've got raw lentils, start by cooking them as per the packet ingredients, for roughly 20-30 minutes (ideally in stock rather than plain water - and even better - if you have time - soak them for a few hours before cooking).
Once the lentils are cooked, or if you are using pre-coked puy lentils, measure them into a medium saucepan with the olive oil and set over a medium heat.
Add the chopped beetroot, nutritional yeast, miso, honey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and chopped dates and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until all of the ingredients are combined and everything is coated evenly.
Taste and season by adding more nutritional yeast, miso, honey and / or lemon juice to suit you preferences. Season further with a little salt and pepper as desired.
Transfer to a serving bowl or distribute into individual bowls and top with a drizzle of walnut oil, the chopped walnuts, fresh herbs of choice and goats cheese or other alternative - if using.
Finish with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive or walnut oil, honey or lemon juice (or for extra flavour, make a double portion of the miso-honey dressing, and drizzle on top or serve on the side).
Enjoy this as a side dish to main meals, or with other vegetables. We enjoyed it with roasted cauliflower and broccoli and baked salmon. You could, of course, eat it alone as it is a filling and nutritionally dense dish as it is.