Simple, healthy, and satisfying, this recipe by Gayle Pirie of San Francisco’s Foreign Cinema restaurant keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, making it something you’ll want to create over and over again as a guiltless snack, green salad embellishment, or sensational side dish. FYI, garam masala, an Indian spice blend, can be found at many grocery stores and Indian markets. 12 baby beets
11⁄2 cups beluga lentils (small black lentils)

Servings 6 people


  • 12 baby beets

  • 1-1/2 cups beluga lentils small black lentils
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or other vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • Small handful of mâche or baby salad greens for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the beets and 1⁄4 cup water in a small roasting pan, cover with foil, and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the beets are just tender to the touch. Cool and peel the beets with a paring knife, and then cut each beet into quarters and set aside.
  2. Combine the lentils and 3 cups of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the water boils, reduce the heat to
a low simmer, add the salt and olive oil
and cook, uncovered, stirring every 5 minutes, for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are still firm and intact, but starting to be creamy inside. 

  3. Drain any excess water, stir in the vinegar and garam masala, remove the pot from the heat, and transfer the lentils to a bowl to cool. If desired, add more salt, oil, vinegar, or garam masala to taste, then transfer lentils to a serving dish, garnish with the beets and greens, and serve warm or cold.

Photography Maren Caruso