the taste space

Roasted Golden Beet and Lentil Salad with Mint and Cilantro

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on October 21, 2011


If you need a spooktacularly healthy salad, filled with Hallowe’en colours to boot, look no further. ;)

For family gatherings, I find it less stressful for everyone if I bring my own food.

On one hand, I get to eat what I want, and on the other hand, I don’t have to worry about rattling off my long list of things I won’t eat and having someone else stress about what to feed me. For me, it comes naturally. For others, it isn’t as easy and can be quite a challenge to think beyond the meat and potatoes.

Rob and I ended up in Woodstock twice this month, and this is what I brought to the BBQ. I tried to keep my salad on the tamer side, with familiar ingredients and flavours, all the while introducing something new for the crowd, like black beluga lentils. Turns out golden beets were new, too.

Beets can be controversial. Love them or hate them. Personally, I like beets and really enjoy them after they’ve been roasted. Golden beets have a more mild, sweeter flavour, so I jumped with glee when I found them on sale (2 large bunches for $1.50! Surprisingly, no, this wasn’t at Sunny’s, just at a local grocer up the street.).  I figured the only place I could safely bring a beet salad would be to a Polish crowd.

Adapted from Whole Living, this salad is quite simple. Lentils and beets. Ginger, mint, coriander and cilantro. OK, the ingredient list sounds long but it all worked seamlessly together. Nothing was overpowering. Everything worked well.

While nearly all the salads were polished off at my Mom’s party (trust me, I was not-so-secretly cheering that more meat was leftover than salads!), I can’t say the same for the Polish crowd. They love their meats and sweets. :P That meant I had 2 more meals from my salad when I returned to Toronto… not too bad, if you ask me!

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend and to Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice for this week’s Magazine Mondays.

Roasted Golden Beet and Lentil Salad with Mint and Cilantro

1 pound (about 6 medium) trimmed golden or red beets
1 cup dried lentils, such as French green or black beluga(I used black beluga)
6 thin slices fresh ginger plus 1 teaspoon finely grated
1 small red onion, finely diced (1/2 cup) and soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons agave or maple syrup
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds, toasted and ground, or 1 teaspoon ground
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint, plus leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish

1. For the roasted beets, preheat the oven to 425F. Peel and slice/chop the beets into medium-bite-sized pieces, but put all the pieces back together again. Wrap in tinfoil and roast for at least an hour. Roasting times will depend on the size of your beets. They are ready when they are easily pierced with a fork. Be careful when handling the hot beets, because they can easily leak. Set aside to cool.

2. Combine lentils and sliced ginger in a medium saucepan, and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain; discard ginger. Transfer to a large bowl, and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Combine remaining teaspoon salt and the grated ginger, onion, vinegar, and agave, and let stand for 15 minutes. Whisk in oil and the coriander. Pour over lentils, and toss to coat. Season with pepper. Stir in chopped mint and cilantro. Arrange beet wedges on top of lentils. Garnish with herbs, and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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18 Responses

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  1. Rob said, on October 21, 2011 at 6:30 AM

    It was still a very tasty salad, nonetheless :)

  2. Caitlin said, on October 21, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    what a beautiful salad. i love the black beluga lentils in this. i’m not a huge fan on golden beets(although i have no problem eating them!), but i looooove red beets.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 21, 2011 at 9:17 AM

      What?! You prefer red to golden beets? Interesting! They certainly taste a bit different but I think the golden ones are sweeter and more mild. :)

    • Genevieve said, on October 22, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      I was going to say the same thing…I was a bit disappointed when I tried golden beets, because I didn’t like them as much as purple beets (which I love!). And I agree that this is a beautiful salad! Too bad it wasn’t fully appreciated by everyone, but I would rather have more for myself than feed it to people who won’t like it anyway!

      • janet @ the taste space said, on October 23, 2011 at 6:28 AM

        Interesting! I guess they are kind of like beets for the people who don’t like beets… although I like both kinds. :)

  3. Adrienne said, on October 21, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    Always looking for new beet recipes. This sounds light and fresh!

  4. Joanne said, on October 21, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    I think I need to spend some more quality time with golden beets…I feel like they are probably the key to the love of beets that I know must be SOMEWHERE in my body.

  5. Maija Haavisto said, on October 22, 2011 at 5:45 AM

    Sounds lovely. I’ve only had golden beets once before: I bought golden beets and purple carrots and thought that I could use them to make a dish that would fool people into thinking it had carrots and beets, while in reality it had beets and carrots (how clever, eh)! But I can’t remember what I actually ended up doing with them.

  6. Angela @ Vegangela.com said, on October 22, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    YUM, this looks stunning. Bookmarked!

  7. Deb in Hawaii said, on October 24, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Golden beets are my favorite, I only like the red ones roasted. ;-) It is a pretty fall salad with the golden color. ;-) Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays.

  8. nancy at good food matters said, on October 25, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    I love both kinds of beets–the golden for their color, but I do think that the ruby red are a bit more intensely flavored. either way, this is a knock-out salad!

  9. Ashley said, on November 2, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    I love Halloween-y coloured dishes like this. :) And love beets! And lentils!

  10. Ivonne said, on November 8, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    That is just gorgeous, Janet. Really.

  11. [...] Janet of the taste space made Roasted Golden Beet and Lentil Salad with Mint and Cilantro from Whole…. [...]

  12. [...] you need to roast your beets. Glorious roasted golden beets. Next, steam your tempeh, then get it marinading. Tempeh has a bad leftover track-record, which is [...]

  13. [...] tarragon. I was so happy to love the sauce, because it made a ton!"Finally Janet made this colorful Roasted Golden Beet and Lentil Salad with Mint and Cilantro and says, "Beets can be controversial. Love them or hate them. Personally, I like beets and really [...]

  14. Nancy said, on January 15, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    This is such a good salad!! It has so many great flavors. I even added pomegranates for a little extra crunch. Tasted even better cold the next day :-)


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