Tender oven-roasted vegetables in a delicious marinade with lentils, pistachios and raisins make for one crave-worthy vegan winter salad! Strikingly beautiful and so delicious, lentils with roasted vegetables is surprisingly easy to make and meal prep-friendly.
A hearty and satisfying salad….or is it a meal? So vibrant and delicious, go ahead and include these lentils with roasted veggies wherever you can. A healthy salad is so energizing you’ll want to eat it over and over again.
This strikingly beautiful salad combines tender roasted carrots, fennel, onions and cauliflower with protein-rich lentils in a simple marinade that’s out of this world delsh!
I’m over here eating this for the third day in a row (well hello healthy meal prep)…and I’m not a bit sorry. I love a meal that is loaded with texture, color, taste and nutrition….yup, this one checks off all the boxes. I’m definitely smitten.
What kind of lentils are best for salad?
I used small black beluga lentils. The small green french lentils are another good choice for salad. I wouldn’t use red lentils for this recipe though. Red and yellow split lentils tend to break up when cooked, making them perfect for lentil soups and stews when they don’t need to hold their shape.
How to Perfectly Cook Lentils for Salad with Roasted Vegetables:
It’s important to pick over your lentils before cooking. It’s not unusual to find small stones in a bag of lentils. Also, you’ll want to rinse them well, in a large mesh strainer.
STOVE TOP METHOD: Place rinsed lentils plus 2 ½ cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then turn down to gently simmer for 16 minutes, then drain.
INSTANT-POT PERFECT LENTILS: Place rinsed lentils along with 2 ½ cups water into instant pot and set pressure to high. Cook for 6 minutes, use quick release and then drain.
DO NOT COOK LONGER THAN DIRECTED. Lentils should be tender, but definitely NOT MUSHY for including in salad.
How to cut vegetables (fennel, cauliflower, onions and carrots) for roasting:
There’s no need to shy away from vegetables that look tricky to trim and prep for roasting. Fennel is a good example. See photos above for the step by step. I like to trim the fronds on the top and save for garnish. If you leave the root end on both the onions and fennel intact before cutting, you’ll have some beautiful fan like slices.
Delicious Spice blend for Easy and Tasty Roasted Veggies
This marinade comes together so quickly. Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup then add the spices including cinnamon, allspice, turmeric and cumin and just a dash of cayenne. Reserve just a bit for the salad, and pour the rest over the veggies to roast.
I love how cinnamon evokes a sweet aroma and taste to even the most savory of veggies. The combination of cinnamon and allspice together with fennel and onions when roasted creates a caramelized, addictive deliciousness that you must taste to fully appreciate.
EASY peasy when you roast the veggies and the pistachios at the same time…while the lentils are cooking. It is important that everything is in a single layer so there’s plenty of room to brown. You may need to use two trays for this.
Lentils with Roasted Vegetables
I’ll be honest, I really had a hard time figuring out what to call this. Seriously. It’s not easy. I eat this warm for dinner, and I don’t really think of it as salad. It’s satisfying and hearty and definitely a meal in itself.
Yet, when I eat the EXACT SAME THING (because it’s so freakin delicious I just want it all the time) for lunch the next day, I call it a lentil salad. Maybe you call it easy meal prep idea? Seems so cliche fall….cool nights call for hot dinner and warm days need a nourishing salad like this one.
I plan on making this as a healthy side dish for Rosh Hashanah and for Thanksgiving….totally worthy of a holiday meal. Don’t you think? Shh…nobody has to know that it’s so easy to make, you can pull it off on a busy weeknight too!
I suppose it doesn’t much matter what it’s called as long as I can continue to enjoy it regularly! Lentils with Roasted Vegetables, Lentil Salad with Veggies, Oven Roasted Veggie Side Dish…..what will YOU call it? All I can tell you for sure is that it’s super tasty and I’m totally smitten…with the taste, the texture, the colors…..and the way I feel after I’ve eaten it: super energized!
Looking for more holiday worthy, easy plant-based dishes?
- Quick and Healthy Tzimmes
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Vegan Beef Stew
- Crunchy Quinoa Salad
- Stuffed Butternut Squash
- Blueberry Tart
Lentil Salad with Roasted Vegetables
- ¾ cup french green or black beluga lentils
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 lb. carrots*
- 2 red onions
- 2 small fennel bulbs or 1 large
- ½ cup pistachios*
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- ⅓ cup golden raisins*
- Fronds from the fennel
- Something green: either chopped fresh parsley or stacked and julienned collard greens or lacinato kale.
- Preheat oven to 400
- PREPARE VEGGIES: Cut cauliflower into florets. Peel carrots and cut into thick circles. Cut onion through the root end and then into wedges or thin slices or a combo. Trim fennel fronds and save for garnish; cut through the center and then into ½" wedges. Place all in large bowl.
- MAKE MARINADE: whisk together olive oil, vinegar and maple syrup until emulsified. Sprinkle in spices and mix again.
- Pour ¾ marinade over veggies and toss until evenly coated. Arrange in single layer on rimmed baking tray. You may need two trays to give them enough room to nicely brown. Roast for 35 minutes, until golden brown and tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare lentils*. Rinse well and then place in a small saucepan with 3 cups water. Bring to boil and then turn down to simmer and cook for 16 minutes. You want tender, not mushy lentils. Drain and place in bowl that veggies were mixed in.
- Pour remaining dressing/marinade over lentils and mix well. When veggies are done, add to bowl along with raisins and mix.
- Arrange on platter: OPTIONAL: place thinly sliced greens (lacinato kale or collard greens) on bottom of platter and then veggie mix. Top with fennel fronds, a sprinkle of salt + pepper and more nuts or raisins as desired.
- Roasted Veggies and lentils will stay good in the fridge for up to a week.