March 25, 2014

Roasted Beet, Carrot & Lentil Salad


Does anyone else feel like time is going by super quickly lately? I can't believe it's already near the end of March and I've only managed to write two blog posts this month!

Between schoolwork, spending time with family and friends, and going to classes at the gym, I've been keeping pretty busy and focusing less on developing new recipes. Instead, I've been trying more recipes from cookbooks or other blogs, and throwing together quick and easy meals using whatever I have in the fridge and pantry.

Last week, I picked up a can of lentils thinking I could just use them for another easy, throw-together meal. Taking a look at what I had in the fridge to use up though, I got a bit more inspired and came up with this delicious warm lentil and spinach salad topped with roasted beets and carrots.


The base of the salad was still pretty simple - just saute a bit of garlic, add a can of lentils to the pan to warm them up, and add in some baby spinach leaves so that they get slightly wilted. A sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds adds a bit of crunch, and a balsamic dressing brings it all together.

For the topping, I roasted some chopped beets and carrots with a bit of dried herbs, and then made a glaze with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup so the roasted veggies end up with a nice sweet and tangy caramelized coating.

This turned out to be one of those meals that seems simple and rustic, but with special touches that make it more memorable, like the boost of flavour from the balsamic vinegar and the sweet candy-like beets and carrots.

I always love warm salads like this one, but I'm excited to start eating more warm-weather meals with fresh veggies too (if the weather ever does warm up that is)!



Roasted Beet, Carrot & Lentil Salad
Partly adapted from Barbara Cooks

For the roasted veggies:
3 small beets, peeled and diced (about 1-1.5 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dried herbs (I used a mix of dried parsley and thyme)
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp pure maple syrup

For the salad:
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
~3 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves

Dressing:
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss the beets and carrots with 1 tsp olive oil, the herbs, and some salt and pepper, then place on the foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through.

Meanwhile, start preparing the salad: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast for a few minutes, until they start to pop. Transfer pumpkin seeds to a small bowl. Add olive oil to the pan, then add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, until it starts to brown. Add the lentils to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until the lentils are heated through. Transfer lentils to a large bowl and add the toasted pumpkin seeds and the spinach leaves.

You can keep the pan heated on the stovetop because you will use it to glaze the veggies. When the beets and carrots are done cooking, add them to the pan over medium heat with the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Let cook, stirring often, until the liquid is almost gone. Remove from heat.

Prepare the dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour dressing over the lentil-spinach mixture in the bowl and toss to mix. Divide salad onto plates and top with the glazed beets and carrots. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Serve warm.

Makes 2 main servings, or more as a side dish

6 comments:

  1. Warm salads are one of my favourite things in Spring and Fall, when you might feel it's too cold for just a salad :)

    ~Andrés

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    Replies
    1. So true! I'm sure I'll be craving cold, fresh salads more often now that the weather is finally starting to warm up!

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  2. Made this for lunch today and it was absolutely delicious!!!!....I would go as far to say, "one of the yummiest things I've ever eaten!!!"

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    Replies
    1. Wow, that's so nice to hear! So glad you liked it so much! I always love beets, but this salad was definitely one of my favourite things I've eaten lately too :)

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  3. I can never get enough of roasted beets they are so good!

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  4. Salad looks great, this salad is a mix of good healthy items. Thanks for sharing this simple yet healthy recipe.

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