Lentil, Spiced Beef and Watercress Salad with Roast Beetroot, Coriander, Beans and Feta

, from Issue #73. July, 2017
Photography by Sarah Tuck.
Lentil, Spiced Beef and Watercress Salad with Roast Beetroot, Coriander, Beans and Feta

The spiced beef is a perfect match for the earthy lentils, sweet beetroot and salty feta.

Serves: 4-6


¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons five-spice
700-gram piece eye fillet, trimmed
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, squashed
1 cup green lentils
16 baby beetroot
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon runny honey
400 grams green beans, trimmed
200 grams feta, crumbled
½ small red onion, finely sliced
7 cups watercress
1 cup picked coriander leaves
sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon runny honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed


Put two tablespoons of olive oil and the five-spice into a shallow dish and stir to combine. Place the meat in the oil mixture and rub all over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, until half an hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line an oven dish with tinfoil. Bring a medium pot of water to boil with the bay leaves and garlic. Add the lentils and cook 15–18 minutes until just cooked. Drain well.

Trim the beetroot and put in the centre of the foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the balsamic vinegar and honey. Season well with salt and pepper and draw the sides of the foil up and scrunch to secure as a sealed parcel. Cook 45–50 minutes until beetroot are soft all the way through when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Increase oven temperature to 200°C. Leave beetroot to cool for 20 minutes then slip off the skins. I advise wearing gloves and using a small sharp knife to make this process easier.

Put a roasting dish in the oven to heat up. Bring a frying pan to a medium-high heat and sear the fillet for 1 minute (or a little more to achieve a good dark colour) on all sides, including the ends. Transfer the fillet to the hot roasting dish and cook a further 23 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest, covered in tinfoil and a folded up tea towel, for at least 10 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to boil and drop in the beans for 2 minutes then drain well. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together to combine.

To serve, layer lentils, watercress, sliced beef, beetroot, feta, red onion and coriander into a large serving dish. Drizzle with dressing and season with a little extra sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to serve. Serves 4–6.