French lentil, roasted beet and kale salad

What I really love about this salad are the roasted beets. Most kitchens I’ve worked in roast beets by rubbing them with a bit of oil, wrapping them in foil and roasting them whole for an hour or more. I still do this sometimes too, but it results in something more like an oven steamed beet, rather than what we usually associate with roasted vegetables, like crispy edges and concentrated sugars. The beets in this salad are proper, crispy roasted beets. French lentils or black lentils have the best texture for this salad, but good old green hippie lentils work too.

Lentil salad with roasted beets and kale

Serves 4

Dressing-

¼ c olive oil

2 T dijon mustard

2 T whole grain mustard

1 ½ T apple cider vinegar

1 ½ T fresh lemon juice

¼-½ t salt

Pinch of pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

1 c French or black lentils

3 medium beets

1 medium red onion

1 bunch kale

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Place the lentils in a pot, add a bay leaf if you like, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes. Lentils should be cooked through but not mushy. While still hot, drain lentils and toss with half the dressing. Set aside to cool.

Peel and trim the beets. Cut beets in half along their ‘equator’. Cut these halves into 8 or more wedges each. Don't make the pieces too small, they will shrink when roasted. Toss the beets in a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the beets out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Allow a bit of space between the pieces so they roast properly. Quarter the onion and cut into short slices. Toss the onion in oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Don't mix the onion and beet together because the onion will cook much faster than the beets. Roast the vegetables at 400 degrees, about 10-15 minutes for the onions and about 30-40 minutes for the beets. The beets are done when their edges are crispy and they can easily be pierced with a fork. Once the vegetables are done roasting, combine them in a bowl and drizzle in a little of the dressing.

Pull the stems out of the kale and slice into thin strips. Place in a bowl and squeeze and massage kale to soften. Add a bit of the dressing and mix well with your hands. Layer the salad in serving bowls or on a platter starting with a bit of the lentils, a layer of kale, more lentils, the beets and onions, a tuft of kale, and a final drizzle of dressing.

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