Give Meatless Monday the ultimate fall makeover. Warm Lentil and Kale Salad is a cozy, savory, and earthy dish bursting with colors and textures perfect for this time of year.
Lentils are a great source of nutrition for any night of the week, such as Basic Lentil Soup with Feta. Their mild, slightly nutty flavor and quick cook time makes them ideal for adding to soups, salads, and stews. While they are a canvas for flavor, they also are completely the star of the show.
Warm Lentil and Kale Salad combines seasonal fall produce with cozy lentils and a tangy vinaigrette. Combining both pantry staples with beautiful vegetables makes this dish easy, and also budget friendly.
- Lentils - Brown, green, and French green lentils all work well in this recipe. Not only do they have a delicate flavor that pairs well with all of the vegetables, but they also keep their texture and shape once cooked.
- Sweet Potato - Adds sweetness and a slightly creamy texture. Once roasted their natural sweetness is even more concentrated and caramelized.
- Red Onion - These add both a savory element, but also another layer of sweetness as their sugars are drawn out when roasted.
- Brussels Sprouts - Roasted brussels sprouts add both a nutty, earthy flavor and also texture.
- Garlic Cloves - Savory, aromatic, and pungent, they perfume all of the roasted vegetables and add depth to this salad.
- Kale - Crunchy and a little bitter, this adds texture and bold flavor to this delicious fall salad.
- Salt and Pepper
- Cumin - Earthy, a little citrusy, and aromatic, this warm spice pairs well with all of the roasted vegetables.
- Allspice - This warm spice that is from the pimento tree is little sweet and a little savory. It combines the flavors of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg and not only adds the fragrance of fall, but also that warm and cozy flavor.
- Olive Oil - Use to help the vegetables roast and also for the vinaigrette.
- Red Wine Vinegar - The bright tang of red wine vinegar balances the bitterness of the greens and enhances the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and onions.
- Dijon Mustard - Adds a bold tangy flavor while also helping to emulsify the vinaigrette.
How to Make Warm Lentil and Kale Salad
Whether you're looking for a Meatless Monday main course or an easy and elegant side to serve with a Sunday roast, this colorful and festive salad couldn't be easier.
Time needed: 1 hour.
Warm spices and hearty fall vegetables come together in this warm salad filled with both texture and a celebration of autumn flavors.
Cook your lentils according to the package directions and drain them well. They can be prepared ahead of time, even the night before if desired.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread your sweet potatoes, onions, and brussels sprouts out onto a baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and season them with salt, pepper, the cumin and allspice, and add your crushed garlic cloves. Allow them to roast until the sweet potatoes are fork tender and the brussels sprouts are browned and cooked through.
- Mix it Up
Add the ingredients for your dressing to a mason jar and shake to combine.
Ad your roasted vegetables, lentils, and torn kale to a bowl and mix to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss to fully coat all of the ingredients. Serve and enjoy!
While sweet potatoes pair well with both the brussels sprouts and kale in this dish, you could easily swap them out for another fall favorite, beets. Both red beets and golden beets would work well in this recipe.
Variations on Warm Lentil and Kale Salad
While this Warm Lentil and Kale Salad is spectacular on its own, there are additional ingredients that you can add for both texture and personal flavor preference.
- Spicy - For a little kick of spice, add crushed red pepper flakes to your roasted vegetables.
- Cheese Please - For both tangy and creaminess, try adding crumbled feta or goat cheese to the top of your finished salad.
- Nutty - For additional crunch and a little saltiness, sprinkle on pepitas or sunflower seeds.
The beauty of this recipe is that in addition to utilizing seasonal ingredients, it also requires minimal special equipment. You just want a baking sheet large enough for the vegetables to spread out in an even layer so they roast instead of steaming.
This recipe is ideal for both meal prep as portions of it can be made ahead of time and assembled when ready to serve, and also as serving the leftovers for a cold salad for lunch.
If using this for meal prep, the lentils and vinaigrette dressing can be made ahead of time. Allow the lentils to drain completely and cool before storing them in an airtight container the regrigerator.
The salad dressing can be stored in a mason jar in the refrigerator. Allow it to sit out and come to room temperature before giving it a shake to emulsify it again.
Top Tips for Warm Lentil and Kale Salad
To help all of your vegetables roast evenly, make sure t cut them into fairly even sized. Larger brussels sprouts can be quartered while the smaller ones can be halved.
Tuscan kale will give you a more tender texture in this salad. However, if all you have is curly leaf kale, give it a quick massage with olive oil to help soften the leaves.
Warm Lentil and Kale Salad
- 1 baking sheet
- 1 Salad bowl
Warm Lentil and Kale Salad
- 2 cups precooked lentils, brown, green, or French green recommended
- 1 sweet potato, diced
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 cup brussels sprouts, halved
- 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp allspice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
- Spread the sweet potato, onions, and brussels sprouts out onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, allspice, and cumin. Add the smashed garlic cloves.
- Roast the vegetables until fork tender and cooked through.
- Cook your lentils according to the package directions and drain completely.
- Add the kale, roasted vegetables, and lentils to a bowl. Toss to combine.
- Add your ingredients for the vinaigrette to a jar and shake to combine.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss so everything is coated.
- Serve and enjoy!