Lentil Beet Salad
3.92 from 12 votes

This vegan lentil beet salad is one of my staple salads. It’s packed with nutrition and perfect with toast!

A vibrant, colorful bowl of a vegan lentil beet salad.

There are plenty of festive recipes to make and think about at this time of year. But sometimes I like to interrupt all of the holiday cookies and cakes with an every day staple recipe. This lentil beet salad is one of my favorites.

I have an easy time finding beets year round where I live, so I don’t really think of this as a seasonal salad. I make it often: it’s in some ways a pared down version of the Provencal bowls in Power Plates.

And if you wanted it to be less simple, you could dress the lentil beet salad up. You could add cashew cheese, vegan feta, croutons or rustic bread crumbs, nuts or seeds.

As you’ll see, my favorite way to elevate the salad is to eat it with a toasted slice of really good bread. It’s nice with a baked potato, too.

My favorite way to roast beets

Roasted beets are one of the costars of this relatively simple salad.

I love beets, and I eat them often. Occasionally I grate them or thinly slice them to eat them raw. Once in a while, I’ll throw them into a soup and boil them. But most of the time, I roast them.

I’ve tried roasting beets a number of different ways through the years. For a while, I was peeling them before cooking, then tossing them in oil and into the oven.

I learned that peeling raw beets is one of my least favorite kitchen chores. So I started experimenting with different ways of roasting.

Nowadays, I always wrap them in foil before roasting at 400 till very, very tender. This takes about 1 hour for giant beets, maybe 40-45 minutes for medium sized ones. Then, once they’re cool enough to be handled, I run the beets under cold running water. The skins are easy to slip off this way.

I very lightly rub the beets with olive or avocado (or another cooking oil) before I wrap them. This isn’t exactly necessary, but I’ve found that it makes it much easier to slip the beet skins off when the time comes.

Once the beets are roasted, I chop and store them. They’ll keep for four or five days in the fridge like this. If you’d like to use them in this lentil beet salad as well as other recipes, go ahead and double the number of beets that you roast. You can put the leftovers in:

Or, you can just throw them into a lunch bowl!

Lentil cookery

Cooking lentils is one of those things that sounds so simple. But getting lentils to have the right texture can be surprisingly complex.

I’ve taken to cooking lentils the same way that I cook pasta and brown rice. I boil them in a big pot of water, test them for doneness, and then drain them.

I find that this helps to prevent having either too little water to get the lentils tender or excess water after boiling. Both of which were routine happenings when I tried to cook lentils in a precise measurement of water.

I love French lentils in this recipe, but brown, green, beluga, and pardina lentils are all OK! (More on all of the many lentil varieties here.) With the exception of red lentils, use what you’ve got.

Lentil beet salad variations

Just as you can vary the lentils you use in this lentil beet salad, you can vary the other components, too.

I love the way red lentils look in the recipe (that color!). But golden beets will also work, and as a bonus, I think they taste a little sweeter. Chioggia beets—the stripey kind—are also lovely.

The vinaigrette that I use here is my standard, simple vinaigrette for green salads. I like vinegar in it, but sometimes I swap whatever vinegar I’m using (red wine, champagne, or sherry) for lemon juice.

As for the greens, I can’t resist arugula in this lentil beet salad. I love the way its peppery bite helps to mellow the sweetness of the beets and brighten up the earthy lentils. But I’ve made the salad with baby kale and mesclun, too. It’s different, but also very good.

Leftovers of a salad with arugula, beets and lentils are piled over a slice of toast.

Serving lentil beet salad

I’ll put pretty much anything on a piece of toast, but I seem to especially like putting lentils on toast. Sometimes I serve this lentil beet salad with toast, sometimes on top of it. But bread is usually involved.

If toast doesn’t appeal, you can serve the salad with steamed or baked red potatoes. You can scoop it up with some seedy crackers or flatbread.

The salad is nice with a cup of pureed soup, like cauliflower, sweet potato red pepper, carrot, or my favorite green soup.

Finally, you can make the salad into more of a meal-sized salad by throwing in cooked quinoa, rice, or farro. You could also add some roasted sweet potato or squash, bread cubes or bread crumbs.

It’s a lovely salad all on its own, but it’s also a good one to build on.

A small bowl contains a fresh, colorful, plant-based salad.

Storing lentil beet salad

One of the upsides of this salad is that the leftovers keep really nicely. You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two or three days after mixing the salad together.

In fact, I think that the beets and lentils taste even better once they’ve marinated in the vinaigrette a little. Your arugula might get a little droopy, but it’ll still its characteristic bite.

An overhead image of a slice of bread that's been piled with lentils, beets, and arugula.
A vibrant, colorful bowl of a vegan lentil beet salad.
3.92 from 12 votes

Lentil Beet Salad

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 4 servings


For the salad

  • 1 batch simple oven roasted beets
  • 1 cup dry lentils, picked over and soaked for 1 hour  (200g; you can use French, brown, green, pardina, or beluga lentils)
  • A few handfuls torn baby arugula leaves
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives (optional)
  • 1 batch simple Champagne vinaigrette
  • Fresh bread or toast, for serving


  • Prepare the beets as directed. Chop the roasted, skinned beets into pieces that are about 1" (or a little smaller). 
  • Bring a pot of water to boil. Drain the lentils of their soak water, then add them to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer the lentils for 25-30 minutes, or until they're tender but still hold their shape. Drain the lentils, taking care to remove as much cooking water as possible so that they're not watery when you add them to the salad. 
  • Prepare the dressing as instructed.
  • Add the prepared beets, lentils, and a half cup / 120ml of the dressing to a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine. Add the baby arugula and chives. Toss again, gently. Taste the salad and continue to add dressing as needed, until it is well-dressed but not soggy.
  • Serve the lentil beet salad with your favorite toast or bread.
A zoomed in image of a slice of seeded bread, which has been piled with the leftovers of a lentil beet salad.

In spite of the fact that this holiday season will be smaller than usual (and my Christmases are usually pretty small to begin with), and in spite of the ever-present pandemic worries, I’m having a fun time with holiday baking and festive recipe ideas.

Even so, it’s nice to fall back on something elegant and nourishing every now and then. You know, Between slices of gingerbread, chocolate pear cake, and Christmas cookies.

Lentil beet salad is a good one for those moments. Hope it’ll be the refreshing, grounding meal you need, too.


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Categories: Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes, Grains, Greens, and Beans
Ingredients: Beets, Lentils
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    This was super amazing!! Instead of lentil I put mixed quinoa and I’m speechless..I feel fresh, light but full of the right nutrients..can’t thank enough. For sure this will be on my plate few times a month now. ☺️

  2. Wow, this is timely. I decided to make roasted veggie bowls this week for lunch instead of my usual boring salads and yesterday at the store picked up some beets along with my go-tos of broccoli and sweet potato.