It’s post-Thanksgiving both north and south of the border now, and – oh wait – it’s also December! Not long now folks – you’ve got 23 days until Christmas and I’d expect you’re probably attending at least a few holiday parties over the next couple of weeks… am I right?
If that’s the case, perhaps you’re looking for an easy meal. An easy and nutritious meal that isn’t going to leave you feeling bloaty and all “stretchy-pants-where-you-at???” A meal to wipe the slate clean so to speak, before the usual holiday indulgences start to re-appear.
If your answer is yes, then this Rosemary Rainbow Carrot and Lentil Salad has got you covered. I’m not sure what to tell you about first, the rainbow carrots or the lentils, but since I’ve just shown you two (soon to be three) carrot photos, we’ll start there.
These carrots were an impulse buy at Whole Foods and immediately became the main inspiration for this salad, quite simply because I just wanted to have fun taking pictures of them.
Aside from being absolutely beautiful, rainbow carrots are actually super nutrient-dense. Each colour has a different superpower, so here’s your mini carrot colour code cheat sheet:
- Orange: The most common of the bunch, orange means there’s plenty of beta and alpha carotene, which boosts vision-boosting vitamin A.
- Purple: This means anthocyanins, as well as the beta and alpha carotene that you get in the usual orange carrots (which is usually the colour inside purple carrots). This combo may provide additional vitamin A and prevent heart disease.
- Red: You know about this one from tomatoes – it’s lycopene! Lycopene is believed to help prevent various types of cancer.
- Yellow: This means lutein and xanthophykks, and nope, I have no idea how to say xanthophykks. Perhaps zan-tho-fix? Anyways, both are vision boosters and cancer fighters.
- White: Not surprisingly, not a ton of antioxidants here but these babies are full of digestion-friendly fiber. (Source)
But now the lentils! Not as beautiful and vibrant as those rainbow carrots – in fact, dull in colour and a food with a high potential to look like a dog’s breakfast if you overcook them. *Raises hand as she speaks from experience.* But if you boil lentils just right (which I’ve found is close to 25 minutes on my stove), they end up adding such a delicious, chewy texture to any salad.
I used green lentils for this salad because I have oodles of them in my pantry, and because as someone with anemia, I’m always looking for ways to boost my iron intake. To maximize their flavour, I like to cook mine in low-sodium vegetable broth, then let them cool a wee bit after draining the excess broth away. This helps the lentils hold their shape when they’re mixed into the rest of the ingredients.
This salad is super healthy, loaded with plant-based protein, and a tasty choice for a side dish (potluck anyone?) or as a meal on its own. And it’s not the kind of salad that’s going to leave you feeling hungry an hour later. The lentils provide a lot of staying power and heartiness, so give it a try one of these days when you need to power through a squillion and two errands. And when you’ve got Christmas shopping to finish. Speaking of which… I’m gonna go get on that!
Rosemary Rainbow Carrot and Lentil Salad
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Ingredients (about 5 cups)
- 1 cup dry green lentils
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 3 cups sliced rainbow carrots
- 1 cup sliced leeks
- olive oil, in a mister
- 2 tsp salt-free seasoning
- 1 tbsp minced rosemary
- black pepper
- sea salt
- 2 tbsp minced parsley
For the Dressing (makes 1/2 cup – you will have leftovers):
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp light miso paste
- 2 tbsp tahini
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
Cook the lentils in the vegetable stock for between 20-30 mins. (Here is a great tutorial for cooking lentils so that they don’t turn out mushy.)
Meanwhile, slice the carrots and leeks. Lay them out on the baking sheet and spritz with olive oil, then sprinkle the salt-free seasoning, herbs, black pepper and sea salt on top. (You can omit the sea salt entirely if you want to keep this recipe lower in sodium.)
Roast the vegetables in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring and flipping half way.
When the lentils are ready, drain out the excess water and transfer them to a large bowl with the fresh parsley. Allow the lentils to cool a bit before stirring as this will prevent them from losing their shape and becoming mushy.
When the vegetables have finished roasting, transfer them into the bowl with the lentils.
Whisk together the dressing and drizzle it over top. Stir gently to combine, and let the salad sit for about 10 mins before serving to let the flavours develop. Serve hot or cold.
Now over to you. Tell me…
- What are some of your favourite winter salads? I have another one coming up for you soon, but I’m always excited to hear what you guys are making too!
- Have you started/finished your Christmas shopping yet?