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Vegan side dish recipe: Lentil and beets pâté

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This amazingly tasty side dish isn’t just a feast for the eyes, it’s also extremely healthy. The vegan/vegetarian recipe uses a combination of Indian spices, legumes, and beets giving the dish a brilliantly festive color. The ingredients make it rich in protein, iron, potassium, and it’s great for digestion, amongst a multitude of other benefits.

If you happen to be in Manhattan’s East Village, you can get all the spices you need for this spread at a quaint little spice shop called Dual Specialty Shop (91 1st Ave New York, NY 10003). They carry aisles upon aisles of every imaginable spice, herb, and tea, all nicely packaged in clear sealable bags labeled with the name of each spice, its taste, and uses. They even carry a variety of asafetida spice (it smells like a combo of onion and garlic), which is used in this recipe but difficult to locate in the city.

  • Type of dish: Appetizer / small plate
  • Servings: 4
  • Healthy
  • Vegan/vegetarian
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils, soaked at least 30 minutes ahead of time, rinsed, and drained
  • 2 medium red beets, peeled, and cut into chunks (or half a package of steamed and peeled baby beets from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Masala
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime / lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped (for garnishing

Preparation
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the soaked lentils, beets, ground coriander, turmeric, asafetida, and water.. Or if you find beets too messy to deal with and have prepared beets on hand, omit the beets from the concoction in the pot. Set the heat high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender and the water evaporates. This should take about 20 minutes. Let cool so it’s not steaming hot.
2. Transfer the lentils and beets to a blender or food processor. Add the masala spice, salt and pepper, lime / lemon juice, and olive oil.
3. Pule the pâté until blended to the consistency of your desire.
4. Transfer the pâté to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro. Serve while warm over crackers or toast. Enjoy!

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