Lentils are a hard sell, aren’t they?
Bacon, on the other hand, is not.
I try to eat healthy meals (apart from the cakes, of course!!) and eat a couple of meat-free meals a week. I’m building up a few vegetarian favourites and they often have lovely and punchy herbs or spices. But if I’m being really honest, my ideal non-‘meat’ meal has to have a bit of bacon. This lovely supper combines the healthiness of lentils with the delicious tastiness of bacon.
Not as pretty as their red or yellow relatives, French lentils are ideal for this recipe because of their robust, slightly peppery taste and that they hold so well together after cooking. And we all know, bacon makes everything better.
Warm French lentil, sweet potato, beetroot, feta and bacon salad
- ½ cup French (Puy) lentils, uncooked
- ½ teaspoon garlic oil
- 100 g thick bacon, roughly chopped
- 150 g sweet potato, cut into 2 cm chunks
- 1 medium beetroot, roasted and roughly chopped
- 100 g rocket leaves
- fresh mint and coriander
- 100 g feta
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook lentils according to packet instructions (add ½ cup water, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer with lid off for 20-25 minutes until tender – adding a little more water if needed), drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- Combine the lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk lightly to make a dressing.
- While still warm, toss the lentils in the dressing and leave to rest for ten minutes to absorb the flavour.
- Fry bacon and sweet potato in garlic oil over a medium heat for about five minutes until the bacon is crisp and the sweet potato is tender, then drain on paper towel.
- Mix bacon, sweet potato, beetroot, rocket, mint and coriander in a serving bowl.
- Remove lentils from their marinade with a slotted spoon and gently toss through the salad mix in the serving bowl.
- Sprinkle over crumbed feta and serve.
I always have roasted beetroot in my fridge. It is so much nicer than tinned beetroot and goes well in many cold and warm salads.
To roast a medium beetroot:
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced).
- Wash beetroot and trim leaves.
- Wrap loosely in foil with a tiny spray of olive oil
- Roast for 45 to 60 minutes (check if cooked by inserting a skewer to see if it is soft).
- Allow to cool somewhat before removing the skin – it should just come away in your fingers.
- Store in fridge for up to a week