ROASTED BEETROOT, LENTIL AND BROCCOLI SHOOTS SALAD

In my opinion, Winter salads are some of the best – nourishing, hearty and with substance. This salad has a few components but are easily prepared simultaneously! Omit the yoghurt dressing and the salad is 100% vegan too!  Beetroots, broccoli and walnuts are all coming into their peak and beautifully share the spotlight here. I was lucky enough to snag myself some broccoli shoots, which are essentially young broccoli and their leaves that shoot out in all directions from the plant. If you're unable to find these, broccolini would suffice or otherwise you could substitute them with silverbeet. Serve with some crusty bread or alongside a tart or similar fare for a slow Winter's lunch. 

SERVES 4 as a side

800g beetroot, peeled and quartered

extra virgin olive oil

200g Puy Lentils

5-6 young heads of broccoli (including leaves), roughly sliced 

1-2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

juice of half a lemon

1/2 red chilli, finely chopped

1 red shallot, finely sliced

50g walnuts, roughly chopped

YOGHURT DRESSING

200g natural yoghurt

juice of half a lemon

1/2 tsp ground cumin

a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a tray with baking paper and assemble the beetroot. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with sea salt and a tablespoon of water. Bake until slightly caramelised and tender, turning occasionally. If the beetroots appear to be too dry, drizzle over a little extra water. Leave to cool.

2. Meanwhile, cook the lentils in a medium pot of boiling water until just cooked. Drain, rinse and set aside. 

3. For the broccoli, heat a large pan over a medium heat. Drizzle in some olive oil and add the broccoli. Reduce heat and sauté for 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic, lemon juice and chilli. Continue to cook until the broccoli is just tender but still with a little crunch. Season to taste. 

4. To assemble, mix the lentils, beetroot and broccoli together in a bowl. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Remember you will serve the salad with the yoghurt dressing, but you may want to add a little extra oil and lemon juice at this stage. Assemble the salad on a serving dish and scatter over the shallot and walnuts. Serve with the yoghurt dressing. 

5. For the yoghurt dressing, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and serve with the salad.