Beet & Lentil Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese
A delicious, hearty salad made from roasted red beets, thinly sliced candy-cane beets, black lentils and homemade herbed goat cheese. Topped with fresh arugula and a light lemon vinaigrette. Gluten Free. <jump to recipe>
Over the past week or so, our weeknight dinners have needed to be very fuss free. The year is off to an active start. Anguel and I are trying to make good use of our evenings - despite the early darkness encouraging us to curl up on the couch instead (with a cat on each of our bellies, of course). As tempting as this is, we're determined to get moving. We spend a lot of time sitting for our day jobs, so we're trying to make sure we negate some of it during our evenings. In between our neighborhood walks each night, a smattering of yoga classes and making time to visit with family + friends...somewhere in there, we try to fit in dinner!
We've had this Beet & Lentil salad a few times now and have loved it every time. It's a substantial dinner that keeps you full without weighing you down – thank you black beluga lentils! Add beets (served two ways) and a generous sprinkling of homemade herbed goat cheese and I guarantee this dish is going to make you happy! The best part? Well, besides looking STUNNING…most of it can be made in advance. So if you plan it right and do the prep work the day before, it'll take you all of 15 minutes to get dinner on the table on the day of!
My heart beats for beets (I had to, sorry). I love them. Roasted, steamed, raw…you name it, I like it. I love beets so much that I used two types in this salad. Because you can never have too many beets! More often than not, salads call for roasted beets and that's one way we'll use them in this recipe. Since the roasting can take a bit of time (~1 hour in the oven), I find it easiest to prep a whole bunch at the beginning of the week. They keep well in the fridge and are awesome to have on hand to add to salads, sandwiches, you name it.
And let's not forget about raw beets either! Sliced thin they provide an awesome crunchy, slightly sweet and visually stunning component to a salad. You can absolutely stick to only red beets, if you prefer – but I dare you to tell me that these candy-cane beets (or chioggia beets) aren't one of the prettiest things you’ve ever seen! They have stunning fuchsia and white stripes running through the inside of the beet, much like a bulls-eye. On the upside, candy-striped beets don't have as much "staining-power" as red beets. On the downside, the brilliant stripes get muted after cooking. For this reason, I try to keep them raw when possible. Because who wouldn't want to show them off?!
Herbed goat cheese. I don't think this one needs much introducing. Part of me wishes I didn't discover this, because it's so addictive. Literally. I'm not sure if you saw my Insta post last week, but I had a dangerous encounter with this cheese and a handful (or box) of my favorite crackers. Beets and this goat cheese is definitely a match made in heaven. Once you've had a taste of this cheese, I'm sure you'll come up with a million other ways to use it.
If you have the time (and foresight) to prep in advance, you can cook the red beets and lentils the day before. The herbed goat cheese can also be made ahead (although, it literally takes five minutes to throw together). If you do the prep work, then all you'll need to do on the day of is throw everything into a bowl – and then add some thinly sliced candy-striped beets on top. That said, if you're not in a mad rush, you can totally make the dish from start to finish on the day of. Roasting the beets is the part that takes the longest, but it isn't entirely difficult nor does it require much active cooking time. So, once the beets are in the oven, you're free to throw on some music and do whatever you want! Save 30 minutes at the end of their bake time to prep the lentils and everything else. And I'm warning you - try not to devour all the herbed goat cheese while you wait. It's no easy feat!
BEET & LENTIL SALAD WITH HERBED GOAT CHEESE
SERVES 4 (GLUTEN FREE)
1/2 lb / 225 g red beets
1 cup black beluga lentils
2 1/2 oz / 70 g arugula
6 oz / 170 g candy-striped beets*
Herbed goat cheese:
3 oz / 85 g goat cheese (~1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
Lemon dijon vinaigrette:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Scrub red beets and cut off the ends. Wrap individually in tinfoil and bake for ~1 hour (cooking time depends on the size of the beets). Once beets can be pierced easily with a fork, remove from the oven. Allow beets to cool. Once cool enough to handle, use the sharp edge of the spoon to scrape off the skin. Cut into bite sized pieces.
Rinse lentils thoroughly. Place in a large pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for ~20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Watch diligently to prevent overcooking. Strain well and set aside in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine goat cheese, basil, chive, dill and salt. Mix thoroughly until well incorporated. Refrigerate until serving.
To prepare the candy-striped beets, cut off the ends and peel off the skin. Use a mandolin or knife to slice thin strips.
For the dressing, use a small bowl to whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, honey , dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and salt.
To assemble, use a large bowl and add the cooked beets, raw beets, lentils, arugula and herbed goat cheese. Pour dressing over salad and toss just before serving.
-*If you can't find candy-striped beets, feel free to substitute with either red or golden beets.
-The roasted beets, lentils, herbed goat cheese and dressing can all be made in advance. Cover and store items separately in the fridge. Prepare the freshly sliced beets on the day of.
-If you plan to keep leftovers for the next day, keep the arugula separate. It stays crisper overnight without the dressing.