Looking for an awesome dish to bring to a pot luck?
Here’s a great option that can be enjoyed by people of almost every food-philosophy from paleo to vegan. Just follow these 10-steps and you’ll have an awesome meal for yourself or for a pot luck. Hope you find it to be as delicious as we do!!
This is a serious (and seriously awesome) salad, but if you are looking for something faster to prepare, check out our Fast Healthy Food Recipes.
Ingredients (in order of use)
- Green Lentils (2 cups – uncooked)
- Vegetable Stock or water (3 cups)
- Golden Beets (1-2)
- Coconut Oil (1-2 tablespoons)
- Sea Salt or Pink Salt (coarse if you have it)
- Pine Nuts (1/3 cup)
- Sesame Oil
- Lime Juice
- Pink Salt (fine)
- Green Beans
- 1 pound of mixed greens
Here’s the overview for how we are going to make this delicious salad with lentils, pine nuts, and avocado:
- Make the lentils, season them, then let them cool
- Roast the golden beets, then let them cool
- Toast the pine nuts, then let them cool
- Wash and chop the greens and other salad ingredients
- Toss it together and enjoy!
The reason the steps are in the order they are is two-fold:
- It allows for the hot items to cool prior to tossing the salad
- It sets you up for yummy leftovers that last longer than if you mixed everything together from the start.
This salad is totally delicious and worth the time to make, but before you dive in, I want to give you a heads up that this recipe takes me about an hour to make. (You may be able to make it a little faster than I do since I have a quirky habit of needing to clean as I cook.) If you are looking for something that is faster to make, check out our fast healthy food recipes.
Here are the 10-steps to making a super-delicious salad with lentils, pine nuts, and avocado.
Step 1: Music
Choose your music. (This is an optional step)
Sometimes it is nice to have quiet time to process thoughts, other times it makes cooking more lively when you pick out some music, and sometimes it is great to queue up a podcast so you get to fuel your mind well while you are preparing to fuel your body well. Step one is about making conscious choices about how you want to spend the time.
Step 2: Preheat
Preheat the oven to 375 (this will be for the beets, which you’ll be working on after you get the lentils going)
Step 3: Lentils
Prepare the lentils
The reason to start with the lentils is so they have time to cool down in the fridge before tossing in with the other ingredients.
* Start with 3 cups of vegetable stock.
What type of vegetable stock?
Since tomatoes can be acidic, and since I prefer the salad to last as left overs, I use a non-tomato veggie stock or water. Whole Foods has a store brand veggie-stock that works well for this recipe and last time I price checked, their store brand was less expensive than the Trader Joe’s version.
* Bring the stock to a boil
Hint: I always want to skip this step, I’ve tried shortcutting by dropping the lentils in at the same time I start heating the liquid, but making it into a single step makes for less-tasty lentils. Also, don’t salt the lentils or the water at this stage.
* Measure out 2 cups of green lentils, then rinse.
* Add lentils to the boiling stock or water, let it come back to a boil then boil for 2 minutes.
* Reduce heat to a simmer, then set the timer.
Once the lentils are simmering, start on the Beets.
* Let the lentils simmer for 20 minutes and then check on them.
Green lentils generally take 25 minutes to be nicely cooked yet firm, but it is best to check on them at 20 minutes just to be sure. Firm is better than mushy for a salad.
Step 4: Golden Beets
Use 1-2 Golden Beets.
Why golden beet in this recipe? Red beets would work fine in this recipe, I just happen to prefer the taste of golden beets. The goldens are more mild; my non-technical explanation is that they are less beet-tasting than the red ones. If you are not a super-fan of red beets, you may find that the golden beets worth trying.
* Cut the beets into even-width pieces.
The reason we cut them into even-width pieces so is so they cook evenly. I usually cut them into ½ inch thick discs and then quarter the discs.
* Place cut beets on a cookie sheet then drizzle with oil.
I recommend coconut oil because it holds up well in heat (read our sweet potato fries recipe post if you’d like to read about why we cook with coconut oil). I use 1 tablespoon of coconut oil per beet. (Since Antonios is a big fan of coconut, and he likes higher fat meals, I will sometimes add an extra 1 teaspoon of coconut oil per beet (1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon).
Added bonus of cooking with coconut oil: having the fat in the salad helps keep you satiated for longer.
Salt the beets. I like to use a salt mill for coarser salt on these, but fine works also.
Once they are prepared, put the golden beets into the oven and cook until golden brown. The oven should be ready since you pre-heated it to 375 in step 2). It may take up to 28 minutes depending on the thickness of your beets. Check on the beets after 15 minutes and flip them, then check on them every 5 minutes after that.
Step 5: Pine Nuts
With the lentils on the stove and the beets in the oven, it’s time to toast the pine nuts.
Amount: 1/3 of a cup of pine nuts
Time: 5 mins
*Put the pine nuts in a pan on the oven so they are one layer deep.
In my experience, when you fill the pan more than one layer deep, some toast, some burn, and some stay untoasted.
*Turn stovetop to medium heat.
I am always tempted to put it on medium-high because I am not always as patient, but they always turn about better on medium heat.
When you are toasting the pine nuts, it is usually best to take a moment to breath and let your mind relax. Why? Because the pine nuts turn out best if you give them attention and move them around the pan as they cook.
Love to be efficient? Are you a multi-tasker? Then here’s a little tip just for you: rather than thinking about yourself “just standing there with the pine nuts for 5 minutes” use the time to breath consciously. Focus as the breath moves up, over your upper lip, into your heart and abdomen, then moves through your body nourishing all your cells with oxygen. It’s amazing how great you can feel just by simply breathing consciously. Just be sure you keep your eyes open and on the pine nuts.
*After about 5 minutes, the pine nuts will be toasty golden.
Once they are finished, take them off the heat and put them in a bowl in the fridge to cool. (If you leave them in the pan, they will continue to cook)
Step 6: Stick it in the fridge
By now the lentils should be finished. Once they are cooked, but still firm, rinse them in cool water using a colander. Then, put them into a glass bowl, and, to quote G-Love…. “Stick it in the fridge, stick it in the fridge, stick it in the fridge” so they can cool off.
Why a glass bowl?
Use glass or ceramic or whatever you have… just not plastic. In general, if you can avoid it, it’s better not to put hot food into plastic containers.
At this point, the beets may also be finished and ready to cool off in the refrigerator. I usually put the beets on a plate and the pine nuts in a bowl, but that’s a matter of personal preference. The goal is to cool them down before adding them to the salad.
Step 7: The salad dressing
First, gather all your ingredients.
- ¾ cup of finely chopped fresh parsley (or you can substitute cilantro if you love cilantro)
- 1 ½ tablespoons (tbsp) of sesame oil
- 6 tablespoons (tbsp.) of fresh lime juice
- ½ tsp of Himalayan pink salt
- ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
Cool side note: The parsley adds more than flavor to the salad. Parsley is a great source of vitamin K, and it also a source for vitamins A and C.
Making the dressing
Wash and dice the parsley then mix all the ingredients together with a whisk (or a fork).
Step 8: Mix the dressing with the lentils
Mix the dressing you just made with the lentils and then put the lentils back in the fridge to give the lentils time to soak in the flavor from the dressing. Step 8 concludes the hot portion of the recipe, so with everything in the fridge, if you need to pause, now is a good time to do it.
Step 9: The green portion of the salad.
Washing the salad ingredients
Once you wash off your veggies, be sure to dry everything off well so the left overs last longer in the fridge.
The cutting and peeling
*I start with a big empty salad bowl, then add to the bowl as I cut and peel. For this salad, I like to start with the non-lettuce ingredients first:
- Green beans
- Parsley (optional)
*Then, I add the golden beets into the salad bowl.
* Then the pine nuts
* At this point, I cut up the avocado. But, I only put it in with the other ingredients if I am going to bring it to a pot luck. The avocado does not hold up as long for leftovers, so I keep it separate and only mix it in right before we eat.
You can use whichever greens you’d like. Or mix up a few of your favorites. One combination I like is arugula, a little chard or kale, and frisee.
The recipe works with ½ pound (8 ounces) – 1 pound (16 ounces) of greens. Some people like it really lettucy and other prefer to go lighter on the lettuce. It’s a matter of personal preference.
If you keep the greens separate until right before you serve the salad, everything will hold up longer as leftovers.
Step 10: Put the salad together
Time to put everything together and enjoy! If you are bringing the salad to a pot luck, mix everything together.
If you are eating it at home, you can prepare as much as you think you’ll eat. When you keep the greens and the lentils separate in the refrigerator, they hold up well for a couple of days. Leftovers are always a treat after you spend time cooking!
May everything you eat become health and harmony within!!!