Seared Broccoli with Red Pepper Sauce & Beluga Lentils
For the Red Pepper Sauce (makes 1 cup)
1 oz dried guajillo peppers, broken in half
¾ oz dried tomatoes (see note)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons water
⅓ cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
⅓ cup avocado or neutral olive oil
2 tablespoons rice or sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Note: You can use jarred sun dried tomatoes too if you can’t find the dehydrated kind (hint: check the bulk foods in your local store), just add them in when blending everything together along with the drained peppers.
Put the dried peppers and dried tomatoes in a medium bowl and pour boiling water over everything. To keep them submerged in the water I like to set a heavy mug or another bowl on top of them. Let soak for a minimum of 2 - 4 hours.
Drain the peppers and tomatoes, and add them to a high-speed blender or food processor, along with the garlic and water. Blend to start breaking everything down, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the blender, and, while running on low speed, add the hazelnuts. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Slowly pour in the oil, then follow with the vinegar and salt, and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with additional salt and vinegar as needed.
For the Lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ small onion, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced or thinly sliced
¾ cup black lentils
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 pinch red chili flakes (optional)
2-3 tablespoons red wine
2 cups water or broth
Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, then add the lentils and cook 2-3 minutes further to toast the lentils and turn the onions translucent. Add the bay leaf and chili flakes, cook 1 minute more, then add the red wine. Give everything a stir, and cook for about 1-2 minutes so the alcohol in wine has burned off. Add the water or broth, turn up the heat and bring everything to a boil, reduce to medium-low and simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes so the lentils are tender. When ready to serve, use a slotted spoon to drain the lentils if you won’t use the whole batch at once, or drain the liquid off completely if you prefer.
For the Broccoli
1 head of broccoli or cauliflower, cut into large florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 450° F. Spread the broccoli on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with the oil, then toss everything together. Season with salt and roast, tossing occasionally, until just tender and browned, 20–30 minutes.
Chili flakes (optional)
Finishing olive oil
Spread a layer of the red pepper sauce on a serving plate, and arrange the broccoli or cauliflower on top. Squeeze some lemon juice over the vegetables, then scatter a few spoonfuls of lentils over everything. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of flaky salt and chili flakes, and the cilantro leaves. Enjoy!