This vegan roasted beet salad is tossed with lentils and a lemon vinaigrette with preserved lemon. It's hardy enough for a main dish at lunch or dinner, or serve as a side salad for the meat eaters at the table.
This beet salad is ready in under 30 minutes if you have an electric pressure cooker to cook the lentils, and an air fryer to roast the beets. But, it's even better made ahead and macerated in the lemon vinaigrette. Serve warm or room temperature.Jump to Recipe
My husband swears that beets are an acquired taste. One he will never, ever, ever acquire. Ever. These words typically accompany his holding up two index fingers in the sign of a protective cross.
I, on the other hand, love beets. And they're perfect in this beet salad with lentils, tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. The lemon vinaigrette has preserved lemon in it, which is worth hunting down to make this dish.
How To Roast Beets
Oven Method for Roasting Beets
Preheat the oven to 375˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. For this particular recipe, the beets are peeled and then small diced, to about ½" cubes.
Peel the beets using either a potato peeler or a sharp knife. I've used both, but often have the best luck with a sharp knife. Slice off the bottom, and anchor each beet on that flat bottom before using the knife. Then cut downwards along the top and sides of each beet, and trim the bottoms. Dice into cubes.
Toss in olive oil, spread on the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 - 40 minutes, or until tender.
Air Fryer Method for Roasting Beets
Preheat the air fryer to 375˚F.
Peel and dice the beets as suggested above in the Oven Method.
Place in a bowl, toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil, and spread in the air fryer basket in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 10 minutes or until tender.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products and foods I use in my kitchen. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. To view my entire storefront of recommended kitchen tools and equipment, check out my page on Amazon.
Either red or orange beets work great in this recipe, but I use red for an earthier flavor.
Use French Green Lentils in this beet salad, or Black Beluga Lentils since they both hold their shape better than Brown Lentils. French Green Lentils take longer to cook than Brown Lentils, and you can either cook them on the stove for roughly 40 minutes, or in an electric pressure cooker for 8 minutes.
Top the salad with either chopped fresh parsley, fresh mint, or both. Fresh mint is ideal with beets!
You don't need any special equipment to make this recipe, but it will go much faster if you have an air fryer for roasting the beets, and an electric pressure cooker (like the Instant Pot) to cook the lentils. Using this equipment, this recipe can be made, from start to finish, in under 30 minutes.
Beet Salad Variation Ideas...
Pickle the beets before adding them to the lentils. If you do this, you won't need the preserved lemon.
Coarsely chop and lightly sauté the beet greens in a little olive oil, and add to the salad.
Toss the salad with arugula if you want to add raw greens.
Add roasted nuts, such as cashews or walnuts, a flurry of peanuts, or roasted pumpkin seeds at the end before serving.
Or go in a different direction and make beet noodles with whipped feta, and serve it over these lentils.
Beets are a messy vegetable in that they "bleed" all over everything they're mixed with. If you make this ahead, don't add the beets until ready to serve. Otherwise the lentils will also turn red.
Lentils and cauliflower is another great combination. If you're ever wondering what to serve with cauliflower steaks, this is a great lentil salad and cauliflower steaks recipe.
Roasted Beet Salad with Lentil and Preserved Lemon (Recipe)
Beet Salad with Lentils
Beet Salad with Lentils
- Cook the beets. If using an air fryer, preheat it to 375˚F. Peel the beets using a sharp knife, and dice into ½" cubes. Toss in olive oil, and spread across the air fryer basket in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 - 15 minutes, or until tender.
- Note: If using an oven, preheat it to 400˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the beets using a sharp knife, and dice into ½" cubes. Toss in olive oil, spread across the baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 35 minutes, or until tender.
- Cook the lentils. If cooking in an Instant Pot, or other electric pressure cooker, add the lentils, 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt), pepper and 1¾ cups water or broth. Lock the lid, and cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes. Perform a QUICK RELEASE. Drain any remaining liquid.
- Note: If cooking on the stovetop, combine the lentils with enough water to cover them, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt) and pepper. Cook for 40 minutes, or until tender. Drain off any liquid. (Or use this recipe for Green lentils towards the bottom of the post.)
- Make the Lemon Vinaigrette. See below for the recipe.
- Toss together the lentils, roasted beets and vinaigrette. Top with the parsley, mint and feta.
Lemon Vinaigrette with Preserved Lemon
- Whisk together the lemon juice, salt, shallot and olive oil.
- Slice the preserved lemon in half. Using a spoon, scrape out the pulp and finely mince. Finely dice the rind of the preserved lemon.
- Whisk 2 teaspoons of the minced pulp and all of the diced rind into the vinaigrette.