Warm Lentil Parsnip Salad

As I’m typing this, it’s well below 0ºC (32ºF) outside and the ground is covered by snow. It’s 3pm… and the sun has already set. In other words, it’s (late) December. Salads might, therefore, seem a little off at first glance. But not this one. No, this unassuming yet perfect little winter salad has a lot of things going for it – seasonal vegetables, hearty lentils, flavorful dressing… and served warm or at room temperature, it feels just as grounding and nourishing as a bowl of soup. Nutritionally, it’s a bomb. Kale – as we all know by now – packs a wide range of micronutrients (and eaten raw, as in this recipe, it’s even better), and the heaping amount of lentils per serving guarantees plenty of both slow carbohydrates and protein. Parsnips bring – besides great flavor and texture – high levels of both potassium and folic acid, and the walnuts get us a quite the chunk of good fats (walnuts are a great source of omega 3), more protein, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc (among other goodies).

This recipe comes together quick (approx. 30-40 min incl. prepping), and is a common weekday dinner for us. We usually make enough for 4-6 servings, simply because we love the convenience of leftovers. When eating this the next day, we usually just take out the container from the fridge an hour or two before it’s time to dig in, instead of actually reheating it. And a note on the athlete-food aspect: it’s a perfect post-run meal, as well as a great dinner choice the night before a long run. On those nights, we typically have this with a nice, thick slice of wholegrain bread on the side.

So I started out by saying salads seem a little off during the winter, but I think a lot of people actually do appreciate a meal such as this one after all the indulging on Christmas, right? And I bet a lot of us have some leftover kale sitting in the fridge anyway, and perhaps even some odd root veggies. If you don’t have parsnips, but instead e.g. beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes or celeriac, go ahead and make this with what you have. It’ll be a hit no matter what!

För recept på svenska, klicka här: Ljummen lins- och palsternackssallad

Serves 4 (as a main)

800 g parsnips (8-10 medium), peeled and cut into wedges
200-250 g red onions (2 medium), cut into thin wedges
100 g de-stemmed green curly kale, roughly chopped
350 g (approx. 4 dl) black lentils, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp bouillon powder (equals 1 cube)
75 g (approx. 1 1/2 dl) raw walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Canola oil, salt, black pepper

Dressing:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2-3 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 tsp maple syrup or honey
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper

  1. Set the oven to 200ºC. Place parsnips and onions in an oven dish, toss with 1/2 tbsp canola oil, 1/2 tsp salt and a good grind of black pepper and roast in the middle of the oven for 20-30 min or until done, tossing halfway through.
  2. Place lentils, 5 dl water, bay leaf and bouillon powder in a pot, and bring to a boil. Let simmer – covered – for 20-30 min or until done (all the water should get absorbed).
  3. Place the kale in a large bowl, and massage the leaves with a pinch of salt for 1-2 min or until they start to wilt down a bit.
  4. Stir together all the dressing ingredients.
  5. When the lentils are done, discard the bay leaf and stir in the dressing. Then, mix lentils with the kale.
  6. Fold in the parsnips and onions, and top with walnuts. Serve immediately.

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