To those who shared a little about someone special in your life in our last post, thank you. Reading every single one of your notes was an amazing experience, and we are so happy to have created a small space for nurturing a little love and appreciation. Chances are, most of us don’t express our gratitude enough – I know I don’t – yet it’s so important to our individual and collective wellbeing, not to mention it just feels so good and so right. I’m going to start doing that more, right now, by thanking you for coming to this page and cooking from it, you are awesome. And there’s still a chance for you to enter that copper mug giveaway and talk about someone, anyone who makes a positive difference in your life here.
This salad is another idea for you to consider for brightening up your holiday table with some seasonal vegetables. It’s easy and parts of it can be prepared ahead of time, and there’s almond cheese!
Lentils and beets do so well with marination – both are quite neutral and earthy in taste, and make an excellent canvas for whatever flavors you choose to infuse them with. In this case, they are marinated in a number of warming and piquant spices, along with garlic, parsley and oil. The marinade is transformative, taking the beets and lentils to the territory of being completely irresistible. They are great served on a bed of massaged kale or any other greens you fancy. I steamed the beets here, because of the healthfulness of the method and for that velvety texture that steaming creates, but you can also roast or boil them for this salad. You can easily prepare the marinated beets and lentils the night before, giving the flavors a chance to develop overnight, and having the major component of the salad ready for assembly. Same goes for the almond cheese.
I took all the recipes for almond cheese that I’ve experimented with throughout the years and put them together to create the simplest, quickest version that still tastes cheesy and amazing, and that’s the recipe you see here. Its creaminess definitely adds to this salad, as does the sprinkling of bright, bursting pomegranate kernels. And if you are able to eat regular cheese and aren’t up to making this almond one, some nice sheep’s feta or many other crumbly cheeses of your choice would work well here, too. This salad has a nice balance of the qualities I aim to check off in my recipes – easy but sophisticated, interesting in flavor, nutritious and visually stunning, and I hope you’ll consider it :)
Our Holiday Menu so far –
M A I N
S I D E
D E S S E R T
D R I N K
- ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves - minced
- 1 lemon - juice
- 6-8 small beets - quartered, steamed, roasted or boiled until silky soft and peeled
- 1 cup cooked French lentils
- about 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1 bunch kale - leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- small pinch of sea salt
- kernels from ½ pomegranate
- almond cheese (recipe below)
- 1 cup almonds - soaked overnight, skins optionally removed for a whiter color
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- pinch of sea salt
- Toss cumin and coriander seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Grind in a mortar and pestle.
- Combine ground spices, salt, paprika, olive oil, garlic and juice of 1 lemon.
- Place cooked beets and lentils into a bowl and sprinkle with parsley. Pour the marinade over and toss to coat. Cover and let marinate at room temperature for 1-3 hours or overnight. Keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- Place torn kale into a large bowl, add olive oil and a small pinch of salt and massage with your hands until tender. Add marinated beets/lentils to the bowl, along with pomegranate kernels and toss. Serve garnished with almond cheese.
- Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth.