Beet Ball ’n’ Fries Salad
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- Serves: 3-4
- Preparation: 20
- Cooking: 70
- Ready: 90
Toothsome, hearty beet and lentil “meatballs” plus oven-roasted home fries live it up atop leafy greens and juicy tomatoes.
For the beet balls
- 12⁄3 cups vegetable broth
- 1⁄2 cup firm-textured uncooked lentils, such as black, brown,
or French (lentilles du Puy)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1⁄2 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
- 1⁄2 cup minced yellow onion
- 1⁄2 pound beets, peeled and shredded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons all-natural ketchup
- 2⁄3 cup quick-cooking oats,
plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt or to taste
For the oven fries
- 2 russet potatoes or 1 pound fingerling potatoes, unpeeled
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay or similar seasoned salt mix
For the salad
- 1 salad dressing of your choice
- 6 cups mixed salad greens or shredded romaine lettuce
- 2 large red ripe tomatoes, cored and diced
- 1 small red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
- 1 large dill pickle, thinly sliced, or 1 cup bread-and-butter pickle slices
In a large saucepan, combine the vegetable broth, lentils, and thyme. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 35 minutes, or until tender. Use a fork to stir in the bulgur wheat, cover, and set aside for 20 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. This would be the perfect time to chop and shred the veggies if you haven’t already!
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, and spray them with cooking spray. Add the remaining beet ball ingredients to the lentil mixture and use your hands to knead the ingredients into a moist dough. If the dough is overly wet, sprinkle in a tablespoon of oats at a time until the dough is no longer soggy but still moist. Use a small ice cream scoop (preferably one with a spring-loaded handle for fast, clean scooping) to scoop balls of beet dough onto the parchment of one of the baking sheets. Alternatively, use 2 heaping tablespoons of dough to gently form each ball and arrange on the parchment. Spray generously with oil and bake for 30 minutes, until the outsides are crusty and the insides are piping hot.
After you get the beet balls into the oven, scrub and dice the potatoes, toss with oil and seasoned salt, and spread in a single layer on the other baking sheet. Pop into the oven with the beet balls and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown, flipping occasionally.
In the meantime, prepare the dressing and chill it until ready to serve. When the balls and fries are done, arrange the greens, tomatoes, onion, and pickle in large serving bowls. Top each salad with beet balls (3 to 4 per salad is a good start; you can always add more if you’re still hungry) and a generous portion of roasted potatoes. Serve with the chilled dressing.
From Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.
“You may need to fiddle with the amount of oats in the recipe, depending on the freshness of your beets. Farm-fresh summer beets are insanely juicy and may require a few more tablespoons of oats to bind the beet ball dough, but older winter beets are somewhat dry and may need a little less. Your beet mileage may vary, so go with the flow!”