Feta and red onions are baked together to become gorgeously tender in this fresh, punchy salad that can be eaten straight away out of the oven or at room temperature. Some warmed flatbreads alongside work well.
2 large beetroot
3 medium red onions
1½ tbsp fennel seeds
5 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
300g feta cheese
300g puy lentils
large handful of mint leaves, chopped
large handful of flat-leaf parley leaves, chopped
1 tbsp apple balsamic or other balsamic vinegar
Steam the beetroot until tender (40 mins to an hour, depending on the size of the beetroot), and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel the onions and slice thinly into rounds. Break the rings up, put into a large mixing bowl, and mix with the fennel seeds, 3 tbsp of olive oil, red wine vinegar and seasoning. Spread a large piece of kitchen foil over a baking tray. Pile into the middle of it half of the onion mixture, break up the feta and spread over, then pile on top the rest of the onions. Seal together the foil edges to make a loose parcel and put into the oven for 25 mins.
Rinse the lentils, put into a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 mins until just tender but still with some bite. Drain.
Spread the lentils over a serving dish. Mix with the chopped mint and parsley leaves, seasoning, the rest of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Cover to keep warm. Peel the beetroot and cut into chunks. Put those over the lentils. Then pile over the now softly baked contents of the foil parcel.
Eat straight away, or allow to cool.
(This recipe originally featured for Borough Market.)