In this Beet And Lentil Salad, the humble beet is truly transformed in this salad; it’s paired with black lentils, herbs and the show-stopping watermelon radishes! It looks beautiful enough to serve during a special occasion, but it’s easy enough for the everyday.
Beet And Lentil Salad
This salad is amazing. It’s light, fresh, and made with straightforward ingredients; it’s great for summer and winter. The sweet, slightly crisp beets, paired with the little gem-like beluga lentils, a pop of crunchy watermelon radish slices, topped with creamy Greek feta and fresh herbs. With the final adornment of lemon olive oil dressing and a sprinkle of walnuts. (Which I forgot to top the salad with for the photo. 😣)
This is one of my favourite salads in the wintertime. I can eat this salad as a meal for lunch or dinner; it’s that filling and delicious, not to mention very beautiful.
The first impression of this salad may leave you thinking…
Hello! high maintenance beet salad!
But it’s not really that difficult. You may have to plan ahead a bit more than you may typically have to do so.
To be honest, the hardest part of this salad is waiting for the beets to cook. Beets take time to bake or boil. There’s not really any way to get around that… unless you buy pre-cooked beets, which would work and save you time. I prefer to cook my own, but it’s ok if you don’t. It’s not a deal-breaker, I promise.
I personally just eat a bowl of this salad for lunch or dinner with nothing else. I know not everyone loves beets, but the yellow beet variety will work great in this salad and give a beautiful contrast look for your salad have a more mild taste.
A few more reasons you need to have this salad in your life!
The benefits of beets can’t be beat! 😂Pun totally intended.
- Beets push out toxins from your body.
- Beets are anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a factor in many health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
- They are rich in antioxidants and vitamins.
- Beets are high in fibre, which is excellent for your digestive health.
- Beets contain a high level of nitrates, which have a blood pressure-lowering effect.
- Beets are abundant in the mineral boron, which plays a role in sex hormone production. 🤭
- The nitrates in beets aren’t only great for your health; they also can help improve brain function by increasing oxygen flow.
If the health benefits of beets do not tempt you, then at least make this salad for your co-worker swoon over your beautiful IG worthy lunch; well, you can sit back enjoy their admiration of all your culinary skills, and if you’re really feeling generous just let those jealous co-workers have some with you too! At least it none will go to waste. 😅Just kidding. My co-workers loved this salad, and they’re were jealous, but in a good way, of course, so I recommend making extra and share the wealth.
Ingredients needed to make the Beet and Lentil Salad
Beets: I used red beet when creating this recipe, but you can substitute for other varieties if you wish. I recommend cooking the beets beforehand and keeping them ready in the fridge to save on prep-time. Beets are one of the vegetables that an Instant pot comes in really handy.
Beluga lentils: Also know has black lentils. They’re tasty and keep their shape when cooking. They don’t really stay black once cooked; most of the colour leaves the beans when they’re cooked.
Watermelon Radish: This radish is really hard to find in my city, and if it’s hard to find where you live, you can substitute with regular radishes; it will still be good to eat. It may not be as colourful to look at, but it will be just as tasty. The watermelon radish has a lighter radish taste and much bigger than regular radishes.
Greek feta: I prefer to use a traditional feta cheese made with sheep and goat milk vs the cow milk variety. I find it to be more creamy and has a more creamy texture. Regular feta will still work.
Herbs: Mint, green onion, and parsley. A delicious trio, you may be tempted to leave out the mint. Please don’t you won’t know what your missing.
Lemon: both fresh lemon and lemon concentrate work in this salad. I’ve used both, and they both work great. No judgement, just use what you have or what is most natural to keep on hand in your pantry.
Olive oil: This one ingredient I’m pretty passionate about! Buy the best kind you can; many cheaper varieties cheat the customer and add filler oils and flavour packs to trick you into believing your consuming olive oil. If you don’t like olives, keep trying to introducing them to your cooking. You’ll slowly build a palate for them. I hated olives, but now they’re always on my table.
Walnuts: These take the salad to the next level. I still can’t believe I forgot to add them to the photo. Ugh. 🤦🏼♀️As soon as I was done taking the pictures and digging into the beautiful salad, I realized something was missing.
How to make Lentil and Beet Salad?
Cook your beets: I like to use the instant pot for my beets. In a 3qt instant pot, I add 4 medium-sized washed red beets. Cover the beets with water, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt—set timer for 8 minutes. Once finished, I allow the machine to slow-release its pressure.
Brine your lentils: A trick I learned from America test kitchen is brining your beans and lentils so they keep their shape and texture. Cover your lentils in 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Let sit 1 hour up to 3 hours. Rinse and cook as usual.
Cook your Lentils: Once the lentils are rinsed and ready for the pot. Cover the lentils with water, bring to a light simmer, cover pot and cook for 20 minutes.
Wash your herbs: Sort through the herbs to remove and rotten pieces or yellowed leaves and soak in cold water; let sit a few minutes and then remove from wash a repeat until the water has not more dirt on the bottom. Add to a salad spinner or just shake dry; do what you can with what available.
Slice your radishes: I strongly recommend using a mandolin for slicing these radishes. You can also use a food processor or a sharp knife. Slice them thin; these radishes are pretty tough to cut, so be careful.
Assemble: Mix the lentils and beets in a large bowl. Drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice. I used a 1/4 cup of each. Your taste might be different, so taste as you go. You might need more lemon juice or more oil. The salad should be a bit lemony. Add half of the herbs to the salad. MIx and plate your salad. Add radishes, feta, walnuts and reserved herbs.
Enjoy! Serve at room temperature for the best flavour.