Here’s a delicious festive salad, perfect for the holiday table- Beet, Lentil and Spinach Salad with Basil & and a bright and tangy Pomegranate Vinaigrette, topped with maple walnuts and crumbled goat cheese.
In winter, all singing is in the tops of the trees. ~ Mary Oliver
Here’s a tasty salad that we’ve been enjoying off and on through the years. It is festive, hearty, and full of great flavor- Beet, Lentil, and Spinach Salad with Pomegranate Dressing. Crumbled goat cheese and maple glazed walnuts add a nice richness and the flavors complement each other well. The punchy Pomegranate Dressing is bright and flavorful and fun and unique.
It is easiest to make this salad in stages- cooking the beets and lentils ahead and making the dressing ahead. Then it all comes together quickly.
Ingredients Beet Lentil and Spinach Salad
- pomegranate juice
- red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
- olive oil
- maple syrup or honey
- orange zest
- salt and pepper
- allspice (optional)
- baby spinach (or sub arugula)
- cooked lentils (black caviar lentils are nice here)
- cooked beets (peeled and cut into wedges) about 3 medium beets
- maple glazed walnuts (see notes)
- pomegranate seeds
- goat cheese, more for garnish
- optional: torn basil or Italian parsley
How to make Beet Lentil and Spinach Salad
I highly recommend making the salad in stages- cooking the beets and lentils ahead and making the dressing ahead. You can also make the maple glazed walnuts ahead!
Cook the lentils and beets.
TIP: I’ve been using my instant pot to steam beets using the steamer rack- fast and easy!
Step Two: Make the Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Reduce pomegranate juice with the shallots. Then combine the rest of the ingredients to make the festive dressing. You can make this up to 7 days ahead.
Step Three: Make the Glazed Walnuts
Step Four: Assemble the Beet Lentil Salad!
Place everything in a large bowl, and drizzle with half of the dressing. Add more as needed. The leftover Pomegranate dressing will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
Step five: Toss the salad
On the homefront: We are spending Christmas on Schweitzer Mountain, perched above snowy trees. The world is quiet up here, and insulated, much like living in a snow globe. The last few nights the moon has shown so brightly reminding me of the light that is always present even on the longest night of the year.
In the distance, snowy trees wave their branches so joyfully, as if to say we are still here, and I can’t help but whisper back and say, I see you, and so am I. Somehow just being alive and breathing after this year feels like such an accomplishment. 🥂
I have such fond memories of waking up on Christmas to the scent of cardamom wafting from the oven. My Finnish mom would make Pulla, (Finnish Cardamom bread) on Christmas morning, and somehow the smell always brings me right back there to that happy place.
I love how food has a way of transporting us to another place and time, connecting us with loved ones.
Sending you the warmest, happy-scented, wishes today. ❤️
More holiday salads you may enjoy:
- Pear Gorgonzola Salad with Vanilla Fig Dressing
- Persimmon Salad with Shaved Fennel and Pomegranate
- Kale Farro Salad with Almonds and Pomegranate
- Fig Arugula Salad with Pecans
- Brussel Sprout Salad with Hazelnuts and Dates
- Citrus Salad with Dates & Pistachios
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 2 tablespoons shallot, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon orange zest, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- pinch allspice (optional)
Do ahead: Cook the lentils and beets. The fastest way is to cook lentils in ample boiling water, like you would pasta. Boil the beets (covered) cutting them in half if larger than a tennis ball (or feel free to roast). Peel and dice or slice.
Make the Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
In a small pot, heat pomegranate juice and shallots and bring to a simmer over medium-low or low heat. Simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 10-15 minutes. Take care to simmer gently– as boiling will cause bitterness. (Aim for bubbling around the edges of the pot, rather than throughout.)
Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 7 days, shaking extra well before using.
Make the Maple Glazed Walnuts: Preheat oven to 35oF
Toss walnuts with maple syrup and a pinch of allspice and salt, and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. When golden, remove from oven, fluff with a fork, and let cool completely. The syrup will harden and become crackly and the nuts will break apart easily.
Assemble the salad:
In a large bowl, add spinach, cooked lentils, beets, basil and pomegranate seeds. Toss with some of the dressing (start with half) then add more as needed to coat all the ingredients generously and evenly. Taste, adjust salt and vinegar if needed.
Salad is easiest made in stages- cook lentils and beets ahead and refrigerate, make dressing and walnuts ahead.
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