This beautiful lentil and beetroot salad with goat’s cheese can be served warm or cold and is great for either a light main or side dish. It’s made using roasted beetroots, slightly caramelised red onions, healthy lentils, creamy goat’s cheese and finished off with walnuts. The dressing is a honey mustard vinaigrette, which adds a bit of tang and sweetness. The three main components (beetroot, lentil mixture and dressing) can be prepared separately and in advance making this a great salad to have during your working week, or for a dinner party or any other occasion where you need to make a number of dishes.
First up, some exciting news… Scruff and I are expecting baby #2 in about four weeks! I’ve been busy trying to get the house ready and writing long to-do lists of everything I want to get done before the baby arrives. Scruff on the other hand has been having nightmares of the many sleepless nights to come – Maddy was a terrible sleeper for about the first two years and is still not great, and I think those memories are still very fresh. Anyway, sleep problems aside, we are all very much looking forward to growing our family.
One thing I’ve been working on these last few weeks is this lentil and beetroot salad with goat’s cheese. This to me is the perfect cold weather salad. The combination of earthy roasted root vegetables and the beautiful browns and purples just makes me think of winter. You can of course have this at any other time of the year, and it’s also good chilled – right now it’s winter in Australia and Scruff has been eating it direct from the fridge.
How to Make Lentil and Beetroot Salad with Goat’s Cheese
Cut the tops and bottoms off two medium- to large-sized beetroot, then wrap in foil and roast for an hour at 200 C / 390 F. Once done remove from oven and allow to cool, then rub off the skins and cut into large chunks.
Fry up a thickly sliced red onion until just browned. Add two finely chopped garlic cloves, a can of rinsed and drained lentils and the beetroot then cook until warmed through.
Make the dressing by combining honey, Dijon mustard, olive oil, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Toss the lentil mixture with the dressing in a salad bowl, then right before serving scatter over crumbled goat’s cheese and chopped walnuts.
What to Eat Beetroot Salad With, and Serving Quantities
I like to eat this salad on its own for lunch or a light dinner. If it’s been in the fridge I warm up the lentil mixture for about a minute in the microwave, then crumble over the goat’s cheese and walnuts. As a main the recipe serves two people.
You can also have this as a side dish, in which case it’s great with grilled/roast meats and a slice of ciabatta or similar crusty bread. As a side dish the recipe serves four people.
My Tips for Success
- To peel the beetroot I usually rub off using my thumbs (this is after they have been removed from the oven and cooled). The beetroot will stain your hands so if this is a concern wear food preparation gloves – the colour will wash out but it does take a bit of scrubbing. You can also rub the skins off using a paper towel – the ridges have more grip so it’s more effective this way. Cooked beetroot skins are also fine to eat so don’t stress if you can’t get the skins fully off.
- You want the goat’s cheese to stay in chunks so you get a nice contrast in colours and flavours, rather than melting and smearing through the salad. Generally speaking, hard goat’s cheese tossed through a cold salad will fare better than a soft goat’s cheese and a warm salad, but to be on the safe side it’s best to just crumble the cheese over the top of the salad rather than trying to mix it in.
- Add the walnuts right before serving, as they do soften if left to sit.
A Final Note on Toddlers, Nut Allergies and Pregnancy
Our toddler has given this a big thumbs down, and given how strong goat’s cheese can taste I’m going to say this one is more for adults than small children.
Obviously anyone with a nut allergy should omit the walnuts. If you can, swap it for something with a bit of bitterness and crunch, like rocket. watercress or spinach.
I’ve been a bit wary with goat’s cheese during my pregnancy. From what I’ve read goat’s cheese made from pasteurised milk with no rind is safe, but if it’s unpasteurised and/or has a rind there is a higher risk of listeriosis. Either way make sure you check the latest medical advice and consult with your doctor/midwife. You can always cook the goats cheese (it’ll melt and then form back into a solid), or swap it out for something else entirely.
Recipes Similar to Lentil and Beetroot Salad with Goat’s Cheese
Lentil and Beetroot Salad with Goat’s Cheese
- 2 large beetroot
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion halved, thickly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 400 gm canned lentils drained and rinsed
- 100 gm goat's cheese crumbled
- 35 gm walnuts roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 pinch of salt or to taste
- pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200 C /390 F.
Chop off the hard bits at the top and bottom of each beetroot. Wrap each one in aluminium foil and place on a baking tray. Roast in oven for one hour.
After 1 hour, remove from oven and let it cool enough to touch. Unwrap the beetroot and use your hands or a paper towel to rub off the skin. If using hands wear food preparation gloves to prevent your skin staining.
Cut each beetroot in half, then each half into medium-sized chunks (I get eight pieces for each beetroot half).
Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat.
Fry the onion for five minutes, or until just starting to brown.
Add the garlic, lentils and beetroot. Cook for another three minutes or so until heated through. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Make the salad dressing by whisking together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
Place the lentil mixture and dressing in a salad bowl and toss through.
Right before serving crumble the goat's cheese and walnuts over the salad. Salad can be eaten warm or cold.