This pâté was born out of a wish for something hummus-like and easy to make out of cupboard staples – in less than 30 minutes. I like making most of my food from scratch but cooking chickpeas for hummus, however tasty, takes forever! Buying ready-cooked tinned beans is not really an option .. Enter the red split lentil! These orange coloured little life-savers don't need soaking, are quick to cook and have a super long shelf life. I buy mine in bulk and keep a giant glass jar ready for action.
I've used beetroot in this version but you can vary this recipe endlessly by using the same simple principle: Cooked drained lentils blended with lemon, seasoning and – if possible – a flavourful and not-too-juicy vegetable, herb, or fruit. I've been known to use slightly pan-charred sweet pepper, sun dried tomatoes, basil or mango .. the possibilities are endless. You can add a few spoons of coconut or olive oil, or tahini + water if you like but I enjoy the simplicity of this oil-free recipe.
Roast beetroot adds a little prep-time but gives so much flavour it makes up for the extra effort I think!
The Beetroot Harisssa Red Lentil Pâté keeps for up to five days covered in the fridge and is delicious on pretty much everything: corn cakes or toast, with any raw or cooked vegetables, on a tortilla before loading it, in baked sweet potatoes, on savoury pancakes..
Beetroot Harissa LENTIL Pâté
Makes around 400 ml
200ml red split lentils, washed
One medium beetroot (ca 120 g) peeled and sliced in 3 mm discs
Coconut oil, OR extra virgin olive oil for roasting
A pinch of garlic granules or half a garlic clove
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon quality salt, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon Harissa spice mixture. This can be substituted with 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp sweet paprika, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 dried mint and 1/4 garlic clove.
Extras: The pâté tastes beautiful as it is but if you want to take it next level, add one, two or all three of the following:
1 teaspoon dry rose petals
Half a wedge of preserved lemon (1 wedge = about 1/8 of a whole lemon)
1 clove black garlic
1. Cook the lentils in unsalted water until soft, 15-20 mins. Let drain in a sieve, removing as much water as possible.
2. Roast the beet: place on baking paper, coat in oil both sides, sprinkle with salt and garlic granules or rub with half a clove. Roast until slightly charred at the edges, 15 minutes, either under a medium hot grill or at 200°C.
3. Blend lentils, beetroot, salt, harissa and extras. Start by pulsing, then blend at a low speed until you have a velvet smooth consistency. Try not to add any extra liquid.
The pâté will be firm enough to pile up high in a serving bowl – looks fantastic on a table of tapas!
And yes, building a savoury pancake tower with your pâté is perfectly acceptable :D