Here is one of the ‘healthy’ posts I recently talked about. I think that sometimes (or actually quite often) people equate ‘healthy’ with ‘tasteless’ and I’ll admit that I fall very nearly into this category. Maybe I don’t have enough confidence in my cooking ability to believe that a healthy dish I make doesn’t have to taste like cardboard? Maybe this attitude stems back to my farm childhood-meat-and-potatoes upbringing? I’m pretty sure it’s all psychological though, because I have made some pretty standout healthy dishes; including this one. It doesn’t look like much but the earthy-ness of the beets combined with the dill and feta cheese is perfect. In my opinion the fresh lemon and zest is absolutely essential for bringing the whole dish together.
Thursday night. 4 pm rolls around and I’m wondering what to make for dinner. Luckily I had made a stop at the Calgary Farmer’s Market earlier in the day and bought a huge 5 lb bag of beets. I also had some lovely leeks and so began the google search. I went straight to the Canadian Lentils website because I wanted a lentil based dish. They virtually have a recipe for every lentil dish that you can think of. When I searched the site for ‘Beets and Leeks’ this Honey Roasted Beets and Leeks with Lentils and Rice recipe popped up. Since it also included feta cheese I knew I had to try it because beets and feta cheese is one of my all time favourite combinations. I had a bit more time to cook the rice while the beets and leeks were roasting so I decided to cook a blend of wild and brown basmati rice instead of just having plain brown rice as the recipe suggests.
I’ll admit that I read the recipe and had my doubts. It didn’t sound like much though it had flavours and ingredients that our whole family loves. I just wasn’t sure about serving this ‘salad type’ meal and how the family would react. There was some trepidation and my oldest son flat out refused a bowl. But to my daughter who has really turned her health around, it was love at first bite.
Honey Roasted Beets & Leek with Lentils & Rice (Canadian Lentils website)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups small beets, diced
2 cups leek, chopped
2 tsp honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup wild rice
1 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1½ cups cooked or canned red or green lentils, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (and zest)
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (reserve some for garnish)
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.
- TOSS the oil with the beets, leek, honey, and garlic. Season with salt and ground black pepper and spread onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until tender and golden.
- BRING the wild rice and 1 cup of water to boil in a medium pot. Boil for ten minutes; drain water then add the brown rice and the stock to the pot. Bring a boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- TOSS the roasted vegetables with the prepared rice, lentils, fresh dill, lemon juice and zest, and feta. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- GARNISH with feta and fresh dill.