Can you really call a winter salad sexy? I mean, can you call any kind of salad sexy?
Well, look at it:
Va-va-voom. Somebody whistle. This is a sexy, sexy salad.
I made it a few nights ago when I needed something hearty yet fresh, something filling yet light.
I pretty much ALL-CAPSED at Brani about the beauty of said salad. “Look at the gorgeous beets! Look how pretty they look with the purple cabbage strands! Lentils!”
Lentils are sexy, right? Well, I believe they are. Really attractive plant-based protein power packets (as evidenced in my stuffed sweet potatoes).
I know healthy plant-based food has this stigma of being bland and boring and meh and tasteless. And TIME CONSUMING.
Look, I’m not going to lie to anyone ever about this: Eating a fresh and wholesome diet definitely takes more time than living on convenience food.
Of course it does! Otherwise it wouldn’t be called convenience food. And cooking plant based often requires a bit more creativity and imagination than your traditional meat-two-veg.
But a salad is a great and easy way to get started. You only need to chop up a few beautiful veggies and add some protein. Then, get this, you don’t even have to make a dressing.
Salad dressings are overrated tbh.
Mostly I just drizzle on plenty of olive oil and some vinegar, sprinkle some sea salt and pepper on top and call it a day. If I’m feeling extra inspired I whip up a little dressing that also has mustard and maple syrup. Too lazy for more.
A sexy salad definitely deserves the extra 30 seconds of effort, though. Here I just chucked all the dressing ingredients into a jar, added the beets to marinate and then poured it all over the finished salad. Easy like Sunday mornings.
See. Plant based is vibrant. Healthy food can be happy. And it doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming or ugh.
The candy cane beets kind of make or break this salad. It is well worth seeking them out for this, as they’re especially delicious eaten raw, a little more subtle than regular beets. Also, the prettiness factor is unbeatable.
Marinating them in the dressing makes them soft and crunchy at the same time. I stole the idea of adding some vanilla from one of my favourite veg inspirations, Paul Ivić. It makes the entire salad so, so sensual.
A few pops of tartness and crunch come from the pomegranate and hemp seeds, but you can sprinkle on whatever you love. I bet some chopped hazelnuts would taste amazing, too.
Anyhow, when I made this salad for dinner the other night I knew it had to go on the blog. So I made it again right away for lunch the following day, and I may or may not have made it once more since then.
But can you for reals call a salad sexy, you want to know? Psh, please. You know the answer.
Winter Salad with Lentils
- For the marinated beets:
- 2 small candy cane beets peeled and halved, then thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- vanilla seeds from 1/2 a pod
- salt & pepper to taste
- For the salad:
- 1 cup cooked Puy lentils
- 1/2 small red cabbage
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 1 large persimmon
- 1/2 pomegranate arils only
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- Marinate the beets: Place all ingredients in a medium jam jar, screw on the lid tightly and shake. Set aside.
- Make the salad: While the beets are marinating, thinly slice the cabbage and fennel. Cube the persimmon. Arrange on plates (or on a platter) with the lentils. Scatter over the marinated beets, then drizzle the entire salad with the leftover marinade. Sprinkle with the pomegranate and hemp seeds.