This satisfying, protein-packed salad will be your new favorite way to use the whole beet, all the way from the hairy tips of its roots to its ruby-colored stems and the frilly edges of its red-veined leaves. Yes, it’s roots-to-greens cooking at its best.

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Beet and Lentil Salad With Beet Greens [Vegan]

Serves

4

Ingredients

  • 6 smallish beets, with greens attached (about 1 pound)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 cup French lentils, rinsed
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Black pepper
  • Vegan feta cheese (optional)

To Make the Candied Pumpkin Seeds (Optional):

  • 1/2 cup pepitas (shelled green pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
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Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Trim greens from beets so that about 1/2 inch of stalk remains attached to each beet. Set aside greens. Scrub beets, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and wrap tightly in parchment paper and foil.
  3. Place on a baking sheet. Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. Run beets under cold water and slide off skins. Cut peeled beets into bite-sized wedges.
  4. Combine lentils, garlic, bay leaves, 3 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside, discarding garlic and bay leaves.
  5. Wash beet greens and cut leaves and stalks crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add a handful of greens, toss until wilted, and repeat until all greens have been added to the pan. Add a pinch of salt and a splash of water, cover pan and cook on low until greens are tender (about 5 minutes).
  6. Combine mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add beet wedges, lentils, and beet greens to bowl and toss gently to combine. Marinate for 5 minutes to allow the beets and lentils to absorb the flavor of the vinaigrette.
  7. Serve the beet and lentil mixture on its own as a side dish, or over leafy greens or cooked grains as a main course. Garnish with feta and/or candied pepitas, if desired.

To Make the Candied Pumpkin Seeds (Optional):

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds and toast, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in cayenne, then add maple syrup and salt and continue to cook, stirring continuously, until the liquid has evaporated.
  2. Transfer to a parchment-lined plate and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.


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