Slow Food Sundays, Starters & Sides, Vegetarian
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Beluga Lentils and Beets in a Herbs de Provence & Orange Vinaigrette

I love beets, want to eat beets, but how do you keep them interesting? A bowl of boiled beets is blasé…even if you ask yourself how could anything so simple taste sooo yummy? You can’t go wrong with this combo. Roasted beets and delectable beluga lentils in a sweet, tangy fresh hand-squeezed OJ with herbes de Provence vinaigrette. Mmmm. Lentils and Beets. Splendid. Every beet-loving vegan will love this creation!

The Mediterranean favors of herbes de Provence with its special blend of sweet herbs, flowery lavender and fennel pass a delectable full-bodied flavor onto any dish. The magic begins with a blend of savory, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme; lavender is often added, as well as fennel seeds, sage, and tarragon. These aromatic herbs combined with a sweet, tangy citrus vinaigrette really brings the French countryside to your table. This is a great addition to any picnic table and is the perfect side dish! Even serve it over greens for a healthy vegetarian meal.

Beluga Lentils and Beets in a Herbs de Provence & Orange Vinaigrette

TIP: The key to cooking beluga lentils is to simmer them gently so they keep their shape. They don’t easily fall apart as do other lentils, but best not test this!

BELUGA LENTILS AND BEETS IN A HERB DE PROVENCE & ORANGE VINAIGRETTE
Serves 4, as a side

INGREDIENTS:
3 medium beets, ends trimmed, scrubbed clean
1 cups beluga lentils (230 g)
2 bay leaves
2 cups water (480 ml)
1/4 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (240 ml)
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
2 teaspoons liquid honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced

METHOD:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.

2. Toss the beets lightly with some olive oil until coated. Season with salt and pepper. Place the beets in a baking dish or pan and cover with aluminum foil. Place in oven and roast approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender and easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife. Remove from oven, cool slightly, then rub off the skins or use a paring knife to peel beets. Finely chop and set aside.

3. In a deep skillet or pan, bring lentils, bay leaves and 2 cups (480 ml) water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low heat, covered until tender; about 30 minutes. Drain and discard bay leaves.

4. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring orange juice and mustard to a boil. Reduce heat, add Herbs de Provence and simmer until liquid reduces by by two thirds; about 30 minutes. Whisk in honey and olive oil. Add beets and red onion. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and serve.

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