Lentil Salad with Roasted Beets

MAKES 4 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 20 minutes • COOK TIME: 1 hour

Back in the days when I was a kitchen serf, I received a great piece of culinary advice from a cook. She said to take a food you wanted to work with and imagine preparing it thirty different ways. That’s a mental exercise that has served me well over the years, because certain foods are so valuable from a health perspective that they need to show up time and again in new and interesting forms. So it is with lentils. They’re so versatile, and they act as a great backdrop for salads and side dishes. In this recipe, they’re the foundation for a wonderful blend of citrus and crunch, with fennel, sweet roasted beets, and walnuts all gleefully playing together in the sandbox. Now I just have to come up with twenty-nine more lentil combinations to satisfy that cook.

2 beets
1 cup dried lentils, preferably
Le Puy green lentils, rinsed well
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Toasted Cumin Citrus Vinaigrette
Sea salt
1 cup diced fennel
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wrap the beets in parchment paper, then in foil, and roast for 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on their size), until tender and fragrant. Remove from the oven and, when they are cool enough, peel and cut into small cubes. 

Combine the lentils, garlic, bay leaf, and cinnamon in a saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the lentils thoroughly and discard the garlic clove, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick. 

Toss the lentils with half the vinaigrette and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and let it rest a few minutes. Then add the fennel, beets, and remaining dressing. Stir in the mint and parsley, walnuts, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Taste; you may want to add another pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, or a bit more lemon juice. Serve. 

VARIATION: This salad can also be heated and served over arugula or spinach. The heat will gently wilt the greens. 

COOK’S NOTE: You don’t have to presoak lentils, but rinse them well in a bowl of cold water, using your hands to swish them around. Drain and repeat until the water is clear. Don’t boil lentils, which makes them mushy and causes them to fall apart. Let them simmer for a nice, tender texture

Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.



Toasted Cumin Citrus Vinaigrette

MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP • PREP TIME: 5 minutes • COOK TIME: Not applicable

I come by making salad dressing honestly, as my dad was in the food manufacturing business. Many a day I’d come to my dad’s office with my latest vinaigrette concoction in a yogurt cup and take it to the lab, where I learned to measure ingredients precisely so we could reproduce the taste in my little yogurt cup when it was scaled up to a two-hundred-gallon drum (talk about the importance of learning how to write down a repeatable recipe!). This airtight dressing is easy to prepare and delicious.

2 oranges, zested
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed
lemon juice
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put the orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, cumin seeds, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking all the while, and continue whisking until smooth.  Transfer to a small container with a fitted lid and shake well.

Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

Kale with Delicata Squash

MAKES 6 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 10 minutes • COOK TIME: 20 minutes

Getting in the swing of eating veggies is like igniting a pilot light on a stove: it may take several tries, but once it’s lit, the flame burns steadily. My challenge is to present important vegetables—and, none is more vital for brain health than kale—in ways that will kick-start your taste for this superfood.

Here, I’ve paired kale with an autumn favorite, delicata squash, along with garlic, red pepper flakes, and freshly squeezed lemon juice to create a dish that’s both a delight to the eyes and the taste buds.

The chopped roasted hazelnuts take the entire concoction completely over the top. It’s ablaze with flavor and should leave you burning for more.

2 bunches dinosaur kale,
stemmed and cut in bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 medium delicata squash,
seeded and flesh cut into bite-size pieces
Sea salt
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Cover the kale with cold water and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat, then stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about 15 seconds, then immediately add the squash and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Let cook until the squash is caramelized and just tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain the kale and add it to the pan in batches along with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté until the greens turn bright green and wilt, about 5 minutes. Test the greens for tenderness; you may need to add 1 tablespoon of water and continue cooking, covered for another 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle on 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the maple syrup and stir gently. Taste; you may want to add a pinch or two of salt and another squeeze of lemon. Garnish with the hazelnuts and serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.