How do you feel about lentils? If the answer is not too inspired then I get it because that was me for a long time. Then one day I tried a black lentil salad and realised that I had been missing out. There's something quite delightful about discovering a dish that you thoroughly enjoy that is super nutritious and healthy too.
Beluga lentils are the star of this salad recipe. These are a little smaller and rounder than brown and green lentils and also have a softer texture. Honey-roasted carrots and juicy pomegranate seeds bring sweetness that is an excellent match for the rich earthy taste of the lentils and the mild tangy taste and saltiness of the feta cheese.
Another key selling point of this lentil salad is that it can all be prepared in the 20-30 minutes it takes to roast the carrots. Opt for pre-cooked lentils and pre-packaged pomegranate seeds if you are short on time or cook up dry lentils and tackle a whole pomegranate at your leisure if you prefer. Then it's just a case of tossing it all together and pouring on the simple 4-ingredient dressing.
🛒 What do I need to make this recipe?
- Carrot - try out other veggies that are good for roasting including sweet potato, squash, parsnips and aubergine/egg plant.
- Honey - can be switched for maple syrup
- Red wine vinegar - red wine vinegar has a richer and deeper flavour than white wine and cider vinegar and pairs nicely with the earthy taste of the beluga lentils. You can use white wine vinegar or cider vinegar if you don't have red wine vinegar in stock. Swapping vinegar for the same volume of lemon juice will also add much needed acidity to the dressing.
- Beluga lentils - I love to use beluga lentils in salads. They have a delicious earthy taste and soft texture in addition to their striking caviar like appearence. They can be switched for green or brown lentils and there are also a number of grains that would work well in this salad including quinoa and freekah.
- Feta - I personally think it's difficult to beat feta. It's hard to match its cool creaminess and mildly tangy and slightly salty flavour. However, goat cheese and ricotta are good options if you need a substitute.
Tools & equipment:
This is a simple salad recipe that only requires a few items of basic kitchen equipment. It's highly likely you'll already have everything you need and there will be no shopping trips required.
- Peeler - for peeling the carrots
- Sharp knife - for chopping the mint and carrots
- Large roasting dish - choose one that will hold all the carrots comfortably without crowding them. You might need to use two dishes.
- Small jug or bowl - for making the dressing
- Salad bowl / other large bowl - for tossing the prepared salad together.
🧑🍳 How to make the Black Lentil Salad with Roast Carrots, Feta and Pomegranate Seeds
1. Roast the carrots
Heat the oven to 220C or 425F. Place the chopped carrot sticks into a large roasting dish and pour on the olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until the honey and seasoning are distributed evenly across the carrots and roast in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, turning halfway.
2. Make the dressing
Mix olive oil, honey, red wine vinegar and salt in a small jug or bowl and set aside.
3. Prepare the salad and serve
Put the cooked black beluga lentils, pomegranate seeds, feta and fresh mint into a salad bowl. Add the roast carrots when they are done and pour on the dressing. Toss it all together, plate up, serve and enjoy.
👍 Top tips for a perfect black lentil salad
- Don't crowd the carrots - the carrots will roast more quickly and evenly if you give them a little space. Use a large roasting dish or two roasting dishes to ensure they have some room.
- Save time by using pre-cooked beluga lentils and pre-packed pomegranate seeds - cooking dried lentils takes 15-20 minutes. I really enjoy the process of cutting and de-seeding a pomegranate. There's something strangely calming about it but it is time consuming. Pre-cooked lentils and pre-packed pomegranate seeds are the best way to go if you are in a hurry.
- Check the doneness of the carrots - the roast carrots are done and have the best taste when you can easily put a fork through them. If in doubt try one to see. You might need to adjust the cooking time a little depending on your oven.
❄️ Leftovers and freezing
Any leftovers you have can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Try and store the salad and dressing separately if you can for maximum freshness. This is a great salad to make ahead and eat over a couple of days. It will also pack up well in a lunch box.
The salad is not suitable for freezing but note that you can freeze leftover pomegranate seeds if you are using a whole pomegranate. I do not recommend freezing leftover pre-packed pomegranate seeds. You can't guarantee their freshness and they may have been frozen before.
This is not necessary but can reduce the cooking time. If you are cooking dry beluga lentils, give them a rinse first and remove any debris before you boil them.
This isn't strictly necessary but it removes any nasty dirt and pesticides and just makes them look cleaner and more appetising. If you decide not to peel them make sure you scrub them thoroughly before you cook them.
When pomegranate goes off the seeds lose their reddish-pink colour and begin to turn brown. The seeds from a whole pomegranate should last about a week in the fridge but the pre-packaged seeds will often only keep for 2-3 days.
Other easy and healthy salad recipes
- Chicken Freekeh Salad
- Spinach & Chickpea Salad
- Blue cheese, apple, grape and walnut salad recipe
- Canned corn, black bean and avocado salad (with quinoa)
- Warm Mushroom Salad (with miso tahini dressing)