An improvised dish that evolved as I went along, this one’s a keeper. It may not look like much, but the combination of flavors was amazing. Typically, when I cook lentils as a main course or side dish, I add diced onions, carrots and sometimes turnip to the legumes while they’re cooking. Flavored with some herbs, salt and maybe pepper, it makes a nutritious dish. However, this combination is amped up by roasting diced carrots and celeriac, and adding a dressing of walnut oil and sherry wine vinegar and a sprinkling of cress-like chickweed (really). I had lightly salted the vegetables when roasting them, but with the oil and vinegar, I bet you could leave out the salt and not notice. I served this lukewarm with salmon and a celeriac salad also dressed with walnut oil.
Black Lentils with Roasted Carrots and Celeriac
1 c black lentils
2 c water (more if using green or brown lentils)
1 large carrot, peeled and diced in ¼-inch pieces
1 few slices of celeriac, peeled and diced in ¼-inch pieces (equal amount to carrot, sprinkle with lemon juice to avoid discoloration if not roasting it right away)
Pinch of salt (optional)
1-2 tsp walnut oil
1 tsp sherry wine vinegar or to taste
Herbs of choice (parsley, lovage, chickweed)
Rinse the lentils and pick them over to remove any small stones. Bring the water to a boil and add the lentils. When the water returns to a boil, lower the heat and simmer the mixture, covered or partially covered, until the lentils are tender but not mushy, approximately about 25 minutes. Check partway through and add more water if necessary.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the diced carrot and celeriac on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and a little salt and roast until tender, approximately 10 minutes. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
When the lentils are cooked, drain them and add the oil and vinegar. When ready to serve, toss with the carrots, celeriac and herbs. Serves 4 as a side dish.