Purple salad with beets, black lentils, and feta

Serves 2  |  30 min  |  Easy

Hi, my name is Anton and I’m a beet-a-holic. That’s probably insensitive to people who actually suffer from alcoholism, and if it is I do apologise, but sometimes I really do feel like I might have a slight problem when it comes to beets. Luckily for me beets are pretty damn healthy. The only downside is that your pee is purple for a day.

Too much information?

Sorry about that. This whole blogging thing is new to me, and I’ve heard you’re supposed to be open and personal so that your readers can form a bond with you, which is what I was going for. But now the only thing you can think of is me peeing purple pee. That’s not what you want to imagine while trying to read about a recipe for a salad, but what can you do? Skip this whole intro paragraph and just scroll down to the recipe? Sure, you could do that, but what would the fun in that be?

Instead you can keep reading on in the hopes of never having to read anything that crosses the line into too-personal-territory again. Maybe you’ll just find some cute anecdote from my childhood that will endear me to you, or we could get back to the issue at hand, namely beets. 

I like beets. I think we might have covered that in a few other recipes before, but it bears repeating, so one last time: I really do love beets. They’re healthy, tasty, and extremely versatile. And extremely gorgeous! Have you ever seen a small beet that’s been freshly picked from the ground with the leaves still intact? If not, better make sure you make time for that this summer, because fresh beets are soooo much tastier than the kind that have been stored in a warehouse half the year, not that there’s anything wrong with those, since that's one of the best things about beets: they store really well, which means you can get local beets almost throughout the entire year.

I once had the luxury of being on a small farm in the Finnish archipelago at the height of beet season, picking beets with an honest-to-god chef. We were making a tv series about organic and locally grown food, and at the end of the day he made a simple garden salad with freshly picked beets of varying colours, goatsmilk yoghurt and pickled elderberries. And it was probably the best beet dish I’ve ever eaten. It might have had something to do with a real chef making it, but I like to believe that it was just as much the flavour of the beets — which we’re heavenly.

Sliced thinly on a mandolin they were light and fresh while simultaenously being chock-full of flavour. Eating that salad in the sun in the Finnish archipelago just, well, let’s just say that it made my day.

And I can, to this day, remember what the view looked like —  from every small island on the horizon down to the tiniest detail of the old red farmhouse sitting at the edge of the forest. The reeds swaying gently in the August breeze, while the old grey cat sat on a chair and basked in the sun. And there we were, in the middle of the yard eating with our hands off a large plate, everyone digging into the salad like hungry wolves as soon as we had decided that we'd got all the shots we needed.

It was a good day.

This recipe doesn’t have anything to do with the salad I ate that day, besides the fact that both have beets in them. That doesn’t make it any less special though, and at least it’s easier and quicker to make. As with most of our recipes, this is a perfect salad to make for a weekday dinner. Just toss some beets in the oven and boil some black lentils and you’re pretty much done.

- Anton

  • 4 beets

  • 2 dl black lentils (beluga lentils)

  • 1 avocado

  • a small piece of feta cheese

  • a squeeze of lemon juice

  • oil

  • salt

For garnish:

  • watercress

  • pomegranate seeds

  1. Turn your oven on to 220°C
  2. Wash and cut off the ends of your beets and slice them into wedges (8 wedges per beet)
  3. Drizzle some oil and a pinch of salt over your beets; and roast them in the oven for 20min until slightly soft and so that you can stick a fork easily through them
  4. Boil the lentils according to the instructions on the package
  5. Once the lentils are done squeeze approximately a tablespoon of lemon juice, add a dash of oil, and a big pinch of salt over them, mix, and let sit until the beets are done
  6. When the beets are done mix them in with the lentils and plate your dish by adding a pile of the lentil/beet mix on to a plate; then top it a sloppily scooped avocado, crumble some feta over, and sprinkle some watercress and pomegranate seeds all over the place!
  7. Enjoy!