This is a delicious, rather wintery stew. The spinach adds a nice and fresh note to balance all the earthy flavors of the beets, mushrooms and lentils. Beluga lentils are among my favorite kinds of lentils because they stay firm even when cooked and have a light nutty flavor. They are great also in salads, and in fact this dish works as a cold salad as well, maybe with a little added olive oil and lemon juice.
Beluga lentil stew with beetroot and roasted mushrooms
- Three small beetroot
- Two handfuls of mixed mushrooms, shitake, champignons,..., cleaned and cut into slices
- Olive oil
- One or two sprigs of fresh time, or have a teaspoon of dried thyme leaves
- Sea salt
- Two cloves of garlic, chopped (optional)
- One small red onion, chopped (optional)
- 250 grams / one generous cup of beluga lentils, washed in a sieve and drained
- 500 ml / 2 cups of vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
- A bunch of spinach leaves, washed and stems trimmed
- Some sprouts or greens for garnishing
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees (350 F). Peel the beetroot or clean them well and cut into bite-sized cubes. Spread the beet cubes on a tinfoil-lined baking tray and drizzle them with a little olive oil. Similarly, spread the sliced mushrooms on a baking tray lined with tinfoil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt and thyme. Roast both the beets and the mushrooms in the oven for about 15 minutes. If the beets are not yet tender, leave them in the oven for another few minutes. Then set aside.
- Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a cooking pot. Add the garlic, the chopped onion (if using), a pinch of thyme and the lentils and stir for a few minutes. Then add the vegetable stock, lower the heat and let the lentils simmer for about thirty minutes, or until tender. The liquid should be evaporated by that time. Five minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the roasted beet cubes and cook them together with the lentils.
- Season with salt and pepper, as necessary and add the lemon juice plus another splash of olive oil. Stir in the spinach for about two minutes at the end, it will cook very fast.
- When everything is ready, add the mushrooms on top and let them catch the heat of the stew, so they are warm as well.
- Garnish with a bit of cress or other micro greens.