The end of a bag of lentils sitting in my pantry, a great little beet stand at the farmers market, and a passionate and undying love of goat cheese contributed to my creation of this lentil salad. Goat cheese and lentils are fine and dandy, but I’m definitely not a beet lover. I do enjoy them from time to time, but I’m picky about how they’re prepared. Luckily, goat cheese is a beet’s best friend. Throw these two buddies over a well-dressed lentil salad and you’ve got yourself a dish that will make non-members of the beet chorus change their tune! Oh, and I forgot to mention, there’s bacon, too. Just in case you needed more convincing.
3 small beets, scrubbed clean
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for the beets
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, plus 3 sprigs
squeeze of honey
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cup French lentils
3 sprigs parsley
4 cups chicken stock
4 strips bacon
2 shallots, minced
First, get the beets a-roastin’. Preheat oven to 375 F. Rub the beets with a bit of olive oil and wrap them in foil. Set them on a pan and roast for about 45 minutes, until fork tender.
When the beets have cooled enough to touch, slice them.
Next, the dressing. Whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, vinegar, mustard, 1 tsp chopped thyme, honey, and salt and pepper. Let it sit a while so the flavors can marry.
To prepare the lentils, bring stock, bay leaf, and sprigs of thyme and parsley to a boil.
Stir in lentils, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
In a large frying pan, cook bacon until browned to your liking and remove from pan. Don’t drain off the grease.
Turn off the heat and add shallots to pan with hot bacon grease. Cook for 1 minute, until they just start to brown.
Drain lentils and remove bay leaf, parsley, and thyme, and add lentils to warm pan with the shallot. Stir in most of the dressing and then taste, and add more dressing if you need it. Garnish with bacon bits, crumbled goat cheese, and sliced beets. Dig in!