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Crispy Beets and Beluga Lentils with Sizzling Chili-Ginger Oil

This looks a bit of -- as the Brits say -- a "dog's dinner", but I really enjoyed it and it felt both healthy and luxurious, which is not a bad combination. I broke into my Rancho Gordo Beluga lentils for this (those of you who subscribe to my newsletter will know how strongly I feel about their pulses), but any variety of brown lentil works here as well. I used pre-cooked beets rather than roasting them from fresh as I usually do, so this came together pretty quickly.

1/3 cup lentils

1/2 bunch kale, stems and tough ribs removed, roughly chopped

2 small pre-cooked beets

1 tsp grated ginger root

1 Tbsp chopped green onion or scallion

1/2 hot red pepper such as a ripe Serrano (more if you like heat), finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 Tbsp olive oil

Generous dollop of Greek yogurt or Labneh

Salt to taste

Put the lentils in a saucepan along with one cup of water and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook until the lentils are tender but still retain their shape, about fifteen to twenty minutes.

Once the lentils have been cooking for ten minutes, add the kale to the pan. Stir to immerse in the water.

Place the beets on a plate or board and crush them with a can or glass until they are about half an inch thick.

In a separate pan from the lentils, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the beets, including any pieces that broke off while you were crushing them, and cook over medium-high heat for three minutes on each side. Salt each side.

When the beets are heated through and crispy in places, lower the heat and gingerly remove them from the oil. Set aside. Add the ginger, chili and green onion to the oil remaining in the pan and cook until very fragrant, less than a minute. Turn off the heat.

Drain the kale and lentil mixture and season with salt to taste. Remove the bay leaf.

Mound onto a plate and top with the beets. Add a generous dollop of Greek yogurt and then drizzle the whole thing with the fragrant oil. Stir it all up to combine and enjoy.

Inspiration recipe, here.


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