This hearty and healthy roasted carrot, lentil kale salad is packed with delicious Fall flavors.
These days a kale salad seems like old news (a little overdone and past its prime), but despite its fall from fame I’m here to argue that a kale salad is still worthy of a place on your dinner table, especially this time of year.
Kale’s sturdy leaves make for a hearty salad that can stand up to a variety of dressings and support a number of seasonal favorites like roast vegetables, dried fruit and nuts and seeds.
Today’s version is an easy Autumn salad that works equally well as a main course or a side salad. It’s filled to the brim with roasted carrots, black lentils, cranberries and pumpkin seeds, and dressed with a cinnamon-kissed maple balsamic vinaigrette. It’s fancy enough for your holiday table but simple enough to make on a weekday. Full of flavor, with a satisfying mix of tastes and textures it’s a hearty fall salad that won’t leave you feeling weighed down.
A roasted carrot, lentil kale salad is a welcome contrast to the heavy and often cloyingly sweet traditional Thanksgiving dishes and a great way to add some freshness and color to your holiday menu. It fits right in with the classics while offering a little respite to your palate.
How to make a kale and lentil salad:
- The wonderful things about a salad like this one is that is can easily be made ahead of time. The lentils and carrots can be prepared a day ahead of time so it’s a busy cook’s dream. All that needs to be done the day of is to dress and massage your greens before tossing everything together.
- I’ve chosen black lentils because they hold their shape well once cooked and work well in salads but small French du Puy lentils would work here as well (regular green lentils fall apart too much).
- While the lentils cook you’ll roast a pan of sliced carrots in the oven until tender and browned around the edges (spread your vegetables in an even layer on the sheet pan to avoid steaming).
- Even the dressing can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until needed.
- Once you are ready to serve all that’s left to do is give the thinly sliced kale leaves a good rub with a spoonful of dressing (this tenderizes and softens the leaves making them less bitter) before adding in your other ingredients and the rest of the dressing. A few cranberries and pumpkin seeds to top and you are ready to serve!
This hearty but healthy roasted carrot lentil and kale salad is packed with delicious Fall flavors.
- For the salad:
- ½ cup/100g black lentils (or French Du Puy)
- ½ Tablespoon/7g apple cider vinegar (if soaking lentils)
- 1 lb/453g carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon/15ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (divded use)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup/40g dried cranberries
- ¼ cup/28g pumpkin seeds
- For the dressing:
- 2 Tablespoons/30ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ Tablespoons/22ml balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons/10ml maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ⅛th teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- If you have time start by soaking the lentils, if not skip this step, just rinse the lentils and move to the next step. Place lentils in a large mason jar or bowl and cover with water. Add ½ Tablespoon apple cider vinegar and let soak at room temperature for at least 4 hours. After 4 hours, drain and rinse lentils a few times.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Toss carrots with oil, ½ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread carrots out in an even layer. Roast until tender and caramelized around the edges, (about 25 to 30 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, place the lentils and a bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover the lentils by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until just tender, (about 15 minutes for pre-soaked or 20
minutes for non-soaked). Drain the lentils in a colander and discard the bay leaf. Rinse with cold water and drain again then sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt over lentils and spread them out on a sheet pan to quickly cool to room temperature.
- Once the lentils and carrots are at room temperature they can be placed in air-tight containers and refrigerated overnight if desired or can be tossed immediately with the dressing.
- To make the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- Place the kale in a large bowl and add a spoonful of dressing over the top. Using clean hands
gently rub the dressing into the kale leaves until the leaves have softened. Add the lentils and carrots
and remaining dressing, toss gently to combine.
- Top salad with chopped cranberries and pumpkin seeds and transfer salad to a large serving platter before serving. Season with additional salt and/or pepper as needed.
If you have time soak your lentils ahead of time. Soaking improves digestibility, reduces the cooking time and ensures the lentils are tender throughout.
If you can't find black lentils use French Du Puy lentils instead which also hold their shape well when cooked.
The lentils and carrots can be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated until needed.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 749mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 8gSugar: 17gProtein: 5g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.