This is one of those salads that makes you look like a downright professional in the kitchen. This Spinach, Lentil, and Beet Salad with an Orange Vinaigrette has so many bright colors, and the flavors are incredible. Tossed with a delicious twist of citrus, it’s refreshing too. I have always loved beets; I grew up eating them pickled, boiled, or in Borscht. It was only as an adult that I realized you could roast them, too! This earthy, nutty salad is sweet and fragrant with orange and basil, and it’s an incredible vegan-friendly salad if you leave out the honey.
Preparing The Beets for Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
I think one of the biggest takeaways for eating clean is making varied, textured, colorful dishes. In other words, keep it creative. If you have the same old steamed root vegetables, day in and day out, you’re going to be completely uninspired to eat them. Roast beets have a fantastic fuchsia coloring that bleeds into everything, staining even your fingertips. It’s the antidote to boring food!
Roasting beets is so easy, too. Although it does take a bit of time, it’s hands-off time – lay the table, do some push-ups, call a friend. If peeling the beets feels like a lot of effort or you want to save time, we have a quick trick for you. Leave them with their skins on during the cooking process; just scrub them with cool water to remove any dirt or debris. You don’t even need to dry them off before they go into the oven. After the beets have roasted, the skins will slide off very easily. When they’re cool enough to handle, place them on a paper towel and rub the skins off. If you’re really squeezed for time for this Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, buy ready-to-eat beets that are already cooked and vacuum-packed.
Why Eat More Beets?
Emerging studies suggest that beets are one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants and nitrates. They may improve blood pressure and blood flow throughout the body, including the brain, heart, muscles, and more. Beets are also quite the energizer. They are high in carbohydrates, which means they are a great instant energy source. Perfect before a heavy workout! Not only are beets low in calories and a great source of fiber and iron, but they also may help boost immunity and guard against cancer. This is one superfood you can’t afford to ignore!
This Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette isn’t the only fantastic way to eat more beets this fall. What about our incredible Belly Dance Beet Salad, which is rich with cumin, coriander, pistachios, and sweet orange. This Mediterranean Smoothie even has beetroot snuck into it; the kids will never know!
Cooking for A Crowd?
Although this salad is fairly filling, you could always bulk it up by adding more leafy greens. Because of the sweet orange-honey dressing, you can get away with a more bitter leaf like arugula. Adding more spinach is another option too.
If you’re looking to bulk up this Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette to feed more people, try adding creamy goat cheese. It would go well with the tangy balsamic and the nutty lentils. Feta cheese would be delicious as well. And if you’re making this during the summertime when peaches are in season, you could add a few handfuls of peach segments to the dish.
Don’t be afraid to roast the beets and cook the lentils beforehand. The vinaigrette can also be kept at room temperature for up to 24 hours and refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.
Spinach, Lentil, and Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
- 3 large beets peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons orange juice fresh
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons basil fresh, chopped
- 2 cups spinach fresh, roughly chopped
- 2 cups cooked lentils red or green
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the beets, olive oil, and salt. Toss well and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until beets are soft and roasted.
- While the beets roast, combine the orange juice, vinegar, and honey. Whisk together well and set aside.
- Remove the beets from the oven. Stir in the spinach and lentils on to the sheet pan. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes or just until the spinach begin to wilt.
- Drizzle the orange vinaigrette over the beets, spinach, and lentils. As little or as much as desired and gently toss. Serve warm.
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