Lentil Salad with Beets and Spinach

This salad is heartier than it looks, and packs a surprising amount of protein for a vegetarian dish. Roasted beets and lentils are a healthy combination that will help keep you satisfied (and are packed with nutrients as well). If you aren’t a fan or the earthy taste of red beets, try golden beets instead. They have the same nutritional properties of red beets, but are much sweeter and less earthy (without any additional sugar content). They can also be harder to find and more expensive, which is why we’ve gone with the more common red beets for this recipe.

You’ll need: some tin foil, a bowl for the salad, a small bowl for mixing dressing plus a fork or whisk, and a small baking tray.

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 1 cup lentils (canned or dried)
  • 2 medium beets
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 3 tablespoons walnut pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cotija or queso fresco cheese

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 2

Directions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash beets well and wrap individually in aluminum foil (they don’t need to be dried first, in fact a little water will be helpful). Beets don’t need to be peeled; the extra fiber from the skin will make this a healthier meal, and is barely noticeable when they are roasted. Place beets in the oven and set a timer for 50 minutes.

2. While beets are roasting, wash spinach if needed and set in a large bowl. If using raw lentils, cook according to package instructions (about 20 minutes) then drain and set aside. If using canned lentils, open and rinse thoroughly. Once cool, add lentils to the bowl with the spinach.

3. Place walnuts on a small baking tray and place in the oven for about five minutes. Walnuts can burn quickly, so keep an eye on them and remove after five minutes (this isn’t entirely necessary, but toasted nuts are less bitter and waxy than raw). Measure out the dressing ingredients into a small bowl and mix using a fork or whisk.

4. Check the beets once the timer on the oven beeps. Beets are done when a fork slides easily into the center of the beet. Remove from foil and place on a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, use a knife to cut beets into wedges and place in the large bowl with the lentils and spinach.

5. Just before serving, mix the salad dressing with the beets, lentils and spinach and toss to coat. Separate into two equal servings and place on a plate or in a bowl. Add ½ the walnuts and 1 tablespoon of crumbled cheese to each serving. Enjoy!

Nutrition

388 Calories, 21g Fat, 16g Protein, 36g Carbohydrates, 14g Fiber, 10g Sugar, 674mg Sodium (when using dried lentils)

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