Roasted Vegetable Lentil Salad
This warm vegan roasted vegetable lentil salad is the perfect cool weather comfort food.
With roasted vegetables, tender green lentils and a simple maple balsamic dressing, what’s not to love about this beautiful warm lentil salad?
This recipe is vegetarian, easy to make and can be customize with different vegetables, dressings and add-ins. It’s the perfect meal-sized salad for the fall and winter but it can also be served cold for a light summer meal.
This salad is perfect for those nights when you want something healthy and nourishing with minimal effort. It’s a wholesome, feel-good recipe you’ll love to keep in rotation for just those nights!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Healthy Comfort Food: This hearty salad is the perfect way to warm up during the cooler months.
- Nutritious: This recipe is high in fiber and plant-based protein and low in fats.
- Dietary Needs: This recipe is vegan, glute-free, nut-free and soy-free so works for those with allergies or other dietary restrictions.
- Meal Prep: This salad stores well for up to 4 days in the fridge and can be reheated or served cold for a quick meal.
A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.
- Onion: White, yellow or red onion works.
- Carrot: Use fresh carrots or baby carrots.
- Zucchini: Use 1 medium-sized zucchini, the amount doesn’t have to be exact.
- Sweet Potato: Use sweet potato or yam, or substitute butternut squash or another variety or squash.
- Fresh Herbs: I think this salad really benefits from fresh herbs but you can substitute dried herbs if that’s all you have.
- Lentils: You can use green lentils, brown lentils, French (puy) lentils or black beluga lentils.
- Broth: Use vegetable broth or stock to cook the lentils for more flavour.
- Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds add protein and healthy fats. You can omit them or substitute pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds or crushed walnuts or peacns.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar would also work.
- Maple Syrup: This can be substituted with agave syrup or honey.
Step by Step Method
Before You Start: Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Step 1. Chop up all the vegetable and either place them on 1-2 baking trays and mix the rest of the ingredients right on the pan, or add everything to a large mixing bowl to mix.
I just do it right on the pan….less dishes!
Drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil, the fresh or dried rosemary and thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast the veggies for 35-40 minutes until tender and browned.
Step 2. While the veggies are roasting, cook the lentils:
- Bring 2.25 cups broth or water to a boil stovetop.
- Add 1 cup dry green lentils, cover and reduce heat to a light simmer.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are tender but not mushy.
Step 3. Mix the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup together in a small dish.
Quick Tip: This is a very simple “dressing” that just adds a bit of zing and sweetness to the salad. For a full balsamic vinaigrette, use this balsamic dressing recipe with olive oil, dijon and garlic.
Divide the cooked lentils and roasted vegetables between 4 bowls and drizzle the sauce over each before serving.
Variations & Additions
- Add Spinach or Kale: Use baby spinach or finely chopped kale. Add to the lentils in the pot when they’re done cooking and mix well until wilted.
- Try this mint cilantro dressing, maple dijon dressing, miso tahini dressing or maple tahini dressing.
- Try balsamic vinaigrette instead of just maple syrup and balsamic.
- Add dried cranberries or raisins.
- Sprinkle with vegan parmesan, tofu feta or store bought feta or add a spoonful of tofu ricotta.
- Try adding bold ingredients like capers, sun dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes, olives or pickled red onion.
- For curried lentil salad, omit the thyme and rosemary and toss vegetables with a sprinkle of curry powder, turmeric and cumin.
- For spiced lentil salad, omit the thyme and rosemary and toss the vegetables with 1 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp each cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper.
- Try adding 2 cups cooked pasta for a roasted vegetable lentil pasta salad.
I recommend sticking to brown, green, black or French (du puy) lentils. These varieties of lentils all hold their shape, whereas red lentils become mushy when cooked.
Mix and match approximately 10 cups of the following: butternut squash, bell peppers, carrot, sweet potato, potato, brussel sprouts, beet, red onion, white onion, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, turnip, parsnip, cabbage or mushrooms. I’d recommend keeping it to 3-4 varieties.
The lentils can be made up to 4 days in advance. The roasted vegetables can be made 3-4 days in advance but I’d keep it on the shorter side for best results as they can get soggy. The assembled salad can be made ahead/stored 4 days in advance or but I’d recommend consuming within 3 days for the best texture and flavour.
No. It’s not necessary to soak the lentils before cooking. Dry green or brown lentils will cook in about 15-20 minutes.
Yes. To use canned lentils, drain and rinse well. Use about 2.5 cups or a 19 oz can.
Roasted Vegetable Tips
- Flip them. Flip the veggies/shake the pan halfway through for even cooking and browning.
- Go high heat! I like to roast vegetables at 425 degrees F but anywhere from 400 to 450 degrees works. The high temp results in a beautiful, deep brown caramelized exterior.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan. It can be tempting to pile the veggies high on one pan or use a roasting dish but it’s best to lay the veggies in a single-layer, allowing for a bit of space between the pieces to allow for both moisture to escape and even cooking. Piling them up will result in soggy veggies.
- What about oil? You’ll find recommendations online to use a lot of oil when roasting veggies. I don’t find this necessary. I used just 1 tsp for this whole recipe with good results.
- What about seasoning? I usually go with savoury herbs like rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and this is what I used for this recipe. Even just salt and pepper is delicious though if you want to keep it simple.
- Chop evenly. Chop the veggies in equal sizes for even cooking. Now, technically, you should start roasting harder veggies like squash, carrot and sweet potato first before adding softer veggies like zucchini. I don’t do this. Instead, I chop the harder veggies in slightly smaller pieces and go a bit larger with veggies like peppers, zucchini and onion.
- This salad can stand alone as a main dish or be served as a side salad. It’s great for potlucks and gatherings!
- It makes a great side dish for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Serve warm or chilled.
- Pair with an entree like baked herb tempeh or another protein of choice.
- Pair with a main dish like these quinoa beet burgers or spicy chickpea burgers.
- Let cool before storing.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- The salad can be enjoyed cold or reheated in the microwave until heated through.
- This recipe is not ideal for freezing.
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This wonderful lentil salad is full of flavor but so simple to make. Roast the veggies, cook the lentils, mix and enjoy. This salad works well for food prep as the flavors are only better the next day. Enjoy anytime for a hearty, rustic, nourishing meal.
- 1 white onion, sliced (approx. 2 cups chopped, 300 g)
- 4 carrots, chopped (approx. 3.5 cups chopped, 450 g)
- 2 zucchini, chopped in large chunks (approx. 4 cups chopped, 500 g)
- 1 medium sweet potato, cubed (approx. 3 heaping cups, 425 g)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 cup uncooked green or brown lentils
- 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth or water, for cooking lentils
- 4 tbsp hemp seeds, optional
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup or raw honey
- salt and pepper
- Preheat Oven: Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Prepare Vegetables: Chop all the veggies and spread on baking trays in a single layer. You may need 2 or 3 trays depending on the size. Drizzle them with the 1 tsp of olive oil (if it’s easier, add all the chopped veggies to a large bowl and toss with the oil and spices, then add to trays) and sprinkle over the rosemary and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix them all up until they’re well-coated.
- Roast Vegetables: Roast the veggies in the oven for 35-40 minutes until tender and browned.
- Cook Lentils: While the veggies are roasting. Bring the broth or water to a boil on the stovetop then add the lentils, cover and reduce heat to a light simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are tender but not mushy.
- Mix Dressing: Mix together the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a bowl or container.
- Assembled Salads: Once the veggies and lentils are cooked, either add everything to a large bowl and toss to mix, or divide the lentils, roasted vegetables and hemp seeds between 4 bowls or containers and drizzle the balsamic sauce over each serving. I prefer to assemble individually to ensure even distribution.
- Serve: Season with salt and pepper if desired and serve right away.
Storing: Let cool then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. For best results if making in advance, store sauce separately until serving.
Lentils: If using pre-cooked or canned lentils, you’ll need approximately 2.5 cups. It doesn’t have to be exact. I recommend sticking to brown green, black or French (du puy) lentils. These varieties of lentils all hold their shape, whereas red lentils become mushy when cooked.
Vegetable Options: Mix and match approximately 10 cups of any of the following: squash, bell peppers, carrot, sweet potato, potato, brussel sprouts, beet, onion, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, turnip, parsnip, cabbage or mushrooms. I’d recommend keeping it to 4-5 types of vegetables.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 417
- Sugar: 21 g
- Fat: 6 g
- Carbohydrates: 76 g
- Fiber: 13 g
- Protein: 19 g
Keywords: vegetable lentil salad, roasted vegetable salad
Originally published on December 17, 2018.