Red Lentil Salad with Feta and Beets

  • 2-3 beets
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced shallots (or 1 small onion)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground fennel seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 bunch arugula, torn into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap the beets in foil and roast them for 45 minutes, or until tender; let cool.  Peel the beets (rubbing under cold water) and cut them into wedges.  In a medium skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add cumin and fennel seeds and cook just until fragrant.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice and cayenne.  Season with salt and pepper and whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add lentils and cook just until tender.  Drain and transfer to a bowl.  Toss the lentils with half the vinaigrette and let cool.  Stir in parsley.  Toss the arugula and beets with the remaining vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.  Mound the salad on dinner plates and spoon the lentils on top.  Garnish with the feta and serve.  Serves 4.  From Food and Wine Jan. 2001.

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