This is a wonderfully tasty recipe, that will have even the most committed carnivores asking for more. I usually serve it with a salad, or another vegetable dish such as baked celeriac. In this version, I have used shiitake mushrooms, which have very powerful properties especially for menopausal women, but you could use any mushrooms you like.
1 cm fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed, or grated
30 ml rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
Juice from half a lemon
75 ml sesame oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
225 gms Puy lentils
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, or 3 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
Roughly 120 gms mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch salt and chilli flakes (optional)
To serve: (optional)
500 gms Buffalo mozzarella
First prepare the beetroot. Preheat the oven to 160C fan, Gas mark 5. Scrub the beetroot and cut off the stalks, if necessary (Don’t throw these away – you can either juice them, or lightly steam them as a side vegetable)
Wrap the beetroot in aluminium foil and roast in a medium oven for about 90 minutes, depending on the size of the beetroot. They are done when you can insert a skewer easily. These can be prepared a day ahead.
Rinse and drain the lentils. Heat a medium non-stick pan and melt the coconut oil. Sauté the onion and garlic over a medium heat until translucent. Add the lentils and bay leaves, stir around and then add enough stock to cover the lentils. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check the level of water from time to time. Once cooked, drain if necessary and pour over the ginger dressing to let the lentils cool down in the dressing. Stir through the chopped coriander.
To prepare the mushrooms, wipe the caps clean with a damp cloth and cut off the stalks. Cut any large mushrooms into quarters, and leave any smaller ones whole. Season with the salt and chilli flakes, if using. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and fry the mushroom pieces over a medium heat for about 3 minutes on both sides.
Remove the beetroot from the oven, allow to cool until you can remove the skin easily without burning yourself! Cut into quarters.
Preheat the oven to 190C, 170CFan, Gas mark 5.
Place the lentils, beetroot and mushroom pieces into a small casserole or iron dish with a lid. Cover and place in the oven for about 15 minutes until heated through.
If using mozzarella, cut into chunks and serve on top of the lentils.