What is a winter salad, you ask? That’s a very good question and, truth be told, we aren’t really sure ourselves -- but we're going with it because it sounds like fun. Yes, I just described a salad as fun.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas and all of the holiday get-togethers, we are pretty much surrounded by the same rich food this time of year, and it can get old fast. So we have decided to brighten it up with a bold, colorful Wild Rice and Lentil Salad that also happens to be delicious.
See, salads can be fun.
The base of this salad is a combination of wild rice and lentils, which together create some amazing texture while also being the perfect vehicle to soak up the varied flavors in the dressing. The addition of sweet beets and bright blanched carrots gives it a splash of color, more texture, and, of course, flavor. Crumbled feta tops it off with a bit of tang, and the simple dressing helps to bring the whole thing together. Here we laid it on a bed of spinach, but that’s totally not necessary since this salad stands alone without needing any leafy counterparts to carry it.
Not only does this salad bring the texture and flavor, but it’s also loaded with healthy winter veggies to balance out all those delicious desserts that keep popping up this time of year. Despite a base of rice and lentils, this dish feels light, so it won’t leave you feeling sluggish afterward.
Whether you are serving it during the week on its own or as a side dish at your next event, it will definitely add some fresh seasonal charm. Give this one a shot; it might just convince you that salads can be fun after all.
Winter Wild Rice and Lentil Salad
- 3 medium sized beets, peeled, and chopped
- 3 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, separated
- 1/2 cup wild rice
- 1/2 cup lentils
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- 1/2 a small shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the beets on a baking sheet and toss with 1/2 tablespoon oil. Place in the oven to roast for 45 - 40 minutes. Once cooked, remove the beets from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the lentils and wild rice according to package instructions. Once cooked, combine the two in a large bowl.
Prepare an ice bath in a medium sized bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the carrots into the boiling water and let them cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly softened. Immediately scoop out the carrots and drop them into the ice bath. Let them sit for 1 minute before draining. Set aside.
Combine the shallot, the rest of the olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, and salt in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.
Add the beets to the rice and lentils. Pour the vinaigrette mixture over the rice, lentil, and beet mixture. Toss to coat.
Transfer to a serving tray and top with carrots and feta.
Serve immediately, while still warm (can be served cold also).