Lentil and Beet(root)s and Salsa Verde

Cooking Soundtrack: My Favorite Murder, Episode 101

I don’t want to read your ramblings, just take me to the recipe: Lentils, Beets and Salsa Verde

Star Rating: Three-and-a-half OK stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s the start of the year, so of course I’m doing a ridiculous ‘detox’ (although my friend, Dr Arnie, pointed out that there’s no such thing as a detox, and that toxins aren’t real in this context, so let’s call it an Unnecessarily Restrictive Diet Which Makes Me Feel Good About Myself, or URDWMMFGAM for short). What this means is that I’m only eating a plant-based diet and taking a load of tablets which make me poop like a freight train. It’s Day 3 and I feel like death.

What does make me feel good is cooking anything from Anna Jones‘ cookbooks. My friend, Emma, introduced me to them when she was visiting and I’ve become an avid fan. Her recipes are all vegetarian, and so delicious they can make you wonder why you need meat at all (almost).

Given the restraints of the URDWMMFGAM, it’s important to me that the food I make is delicious and satisfying. It’s also winter, so a certain degree of stodginess is also key.

Puy lentils (or French lentils as they’re known in the US) maintain their shape, unlike those lazy red ones which are wont to fall apart. Make sure you rinse them thoroughly as they can contain tiny stones which are not good for taste or dental work.

Beets are known as beetroot in Australia. We like to put the pickled slices of beetroot you get from a can on our burgers, because it’s fucking delicious. The roasting method in this recipe is closer to steaming as you put the raw beetroot chunks on a foil-lined pan, drizzle with oil and a load of vinegar, then cover and cook for an hour. This gives them a slight pickled flavour, and while I enjoyed it to a degree, if I were to make this recipe again I’d omit the vinegar and open roast until the beetroot was slightly caramelised.

HOT TIP for peeling beetroot. If you don’t want to dye your palms a fetching shade of pink, rub your hands with a little bit of oil before handling them. Works every time.

Anyway, if you would like to make the recipe you can find it here (on a blog with far more impressive writing and photography skills than my own). I halved the recipe, because while it was pretty tasty, there are very few meals I want to eat four times in succession (besides laksa).

This isn’t my favourite Anna Jones recipe – normally I’m raving about whatever I’ve most recently made to anyone who’ll listen, but this one felt like it was missing something. But it was healthy and that beetroot will certainly make my bathroom trips more colourful tomorrow. 3.5/5 stars.