When searching for vegetarian meal ideas, it’s likely you’ll come across articles with some variation of the following title: Vegetarian Recipes That Aren’t Salad. We’ve come so far from the days when I had to resort to a collection of side salads for my meal at a restaurant or dinner party. A menu lacking in creative meatless entrees is either behind the times or a BBQ joint.
But salads have also come a long way from the lettuce, onion, and tomato bowls of yesteryear! Most restaurants have a number of salads on the menu, many of which include seasonal produce, grains, and fine cheeses.
I always have fun coming up with salad ingredient combinations that will satisfy and keep me full all day. Despite what my carnivore of a boyfriend thinks, a salad with the right balance of healthy protein – like lentils and cheese – can be just as filling as a turkey sandwich. I added roasted golden beets for extra color and flavor; I prefer them to purple beets – the flavor is less overwhelming and they are much easier to clean up!
2 large golden beets
2/3 cup of dry lentils
1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese
8 oz of cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters (I used 3/4 of a small box of tomatoes)
Kale (for 4 servings I used about 8 oz)
Dressing: 1.5 tbsp of fresh lemon juice, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of dijon mustard, 1 tbsp of honey, sea salt and fresh pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap both beets in foil and bake at 400 degrees for about one hour, or until the beets can be pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and let cool.
When the beets have cooled enough to be handled, slice off the stem. Using a vegetable peeler, or even just your fingers, remove the skin from the beets. If it’s fully cooked, the skin should slide off rather easily. Slice the beets into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes.
Place all of the kale in a large mixing bowl and pour a teaspoon or two of olive oil into your cleaned hands. Massage the kale leaves until the color grows a bit darker and the leaves soften. Add in the quartered cherry tomatoes, lentils, beets, and crumbled feta.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix all of the ingredients for the salad dressing using a whisk. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly until fully coated.