There’s nothing more satisfying that eating something delicious that you’ve grown yourself. At WEN, that’s basically our mantra! We believe that growing your own food is a guaranteed way to improve your diet, health and happiness, as well as reducing your expose to harmful chemicals found in pesticides. Eating seasonal, locally grown food also has vast benefits for the environment too, reducing the air miles of your food and decreasing your carbon footprint.
Summer is undoubtedly the best time for growing your own vegetables. The weather is beautiful, and the crops you sowed months ago and have been tending all spring are finally coming into season. Beetroot are at their best at the moment. Pull up alternative crops when they are about the size of a golf gal, then leave the others to mature. They are ready when they about about the size of a cricket ball. You can keep planting beetroot until August, so keeping planting them as you harvest, to ensure you have fresh beetroots though out the summer and into the autumn.
The most common method of preparing beetroot is pickling it in vinegar, but it is also delicious roasted, which brings out the natural, earthy flavour. Usually, it is roasted in its skin for about an hour, however, I always find that then I have trouble peeling it and, after burning all my fingers and staining half my kitchen a deep shade of purple, I have developed a better way.
Peel the beetroots while they are still raw, and then wrap each in tin foil. Roast in the oven for about an hour until you have soft, juicy delicious balls. Eat them as they are, or mix them with lentils and feta to create a fresh salad for summer.
Roasted Beetroot, Lentil and Feta Salad
To serve four:
four beetroot, roasted at 180 degrees for about an hour, until soft
250g dried green lentils, rinsed
handful of basil leaves
For the dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper
Begin by cooking the lentils. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the lentils and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until softened but still with a slight bite. You don’t want them mushy!
Place the lentils in a serving dish. Dice your cooked beetroot and add it to the lentils, then crumble over the feta. Finely chop the basil and mix that in.
Then, make your dressing. Put all the ingredients in an old jam jar and shake well to mix. Pour it over your salad and enjoy as a summertime lunch or a side dish to accompany your favourite meals.