This beets, celery root and lentil salad combines roasted root vegetables with cooked green lentils to create a hearty, delicious and wholesome dish. It’s a vibrant and colorful salad which is easy to make with minimal effort.

This simple and nutritious salad boasts a complex flavor profile, taking advantage of the unique flavors of each ingredient by combining them into a delightful meal. It is perfect for any occasion as it can be served either hot or cold.

salad with lentils, celery root, beets with red onions, hazelnuts on a white plate with pink flowers

Roasted root vegetables and lentils

Roasting root vegetables in the oven brings out a sweet, richer and more complex flavor profile which serves to enhance the overall taste of this salad. It also gives the vegetables a more soft and tender texture while retaining their flavor, in contrast to boiling, which makes them more watery and causes them to slightly lose their delicious taste.

Root vegetables also pair wonderfully with cooked lentils. The sweet and earthy flavor of roasted root vegetables complements the nutty taste of lentils and their textures work together well in this salad dish.

Lentils are legumes that can be used in a wide variety of dishes like soups, stew, salads and curries. I love making this red lentil soup and my recipe for this South African sweet lentil curry is just divine.

For this salad I have used celery root, beets and onions as root vegetables as I think they work very well in this dish. You can consider adding other root vegetables or substitute these with for instance turnips, carrots or other colors of beets or beetroot.

2 plates of celeriac, beetroot, lentils, red onion and hazelnut salad on a checkered towel

Which ingredients to use

  • Lentils: Green lentils or French lentils (also known as Lentilles de Puy) are best for making a salad. They will hold their shape after cooking and won’t go mushy. But brown lentils can also be used.
  • Celery root: Also known as celeriac, it has a distinctive peppery taste when raw but when roasted its taste turns into a lovely sweet and mildly earthy flavor.
  • Beets: Also known as beetroot have a deep red color. They are delicious when roasted which gives them an extra earthy and slightly sweeter taste. I prefer red beets, however, you can substitute them for the yellow or striped varieties.
  • Red onion: I use a red onion for its vivid color but any other onion works fine.
  • Olive oil: A drizzle of olive oil is all you need to roast the root vegetables in the oven.
  • Seasoning: I only use a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper as seasoning. But don’t overdo it with more seasoning so as to allow the flavors of the vegetables and lentils themselves to shine through.
  • Hazelnuts: As garnish, sprinkle some chopped hazelnuts, either raw or lightly toasted, over the salad. As a substitute use walnuts or pecans for a similar flavor profile.
  • Hazelnut oil: And a drizzle of hazelnut oil to finish off this salad. This can also be substituted by walnut or sesame oil.
  • Parsley: Add chopped parsley as garnish.

How to make this lentil salad

Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

While the vegetables take time to roast, it is a relatively easy salad to make. Just chop the vegetables and the oven will do the rest. Easy, right? Here are the steps to follow:

celeriac or celery root on a white table
  • Prepare the vegetables: Trim both ends of the celeriac knob and peel off the skin with a sharp knife or potato peeler. Just be careful as a celery root is not very easy to peel due to its uneven skin. When peeled, chop into equal 1-inch (or 2.5 cm) chunks.
    Do the same with the beets, peel the skin and cut into 1-inch (or 2.5 cm) chunks. The cooking time of beets and celery root is more or less the same so cutting them in equal chunks will allow for even cooking.
    Peel the onion and slice in thin half moons.
baking sheet with parchment paper with chopped beets, celery root and half moon red onions
  • Roast the vegetables: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, add the onions and the beet and celery root chunks. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place the baking sheet in the middle of a pre-heated oven at 350℉ or 175℃. Roast for 40-50 minutes or until tender. Check by piercing with a fork to see if the vegetables are soft and tender, then remove from the oven.
  • Cook the lentils: Rinse the lentils under cold water and drain. Add them in a saucepan with water (count on 1 measure of dried lentils with 4 measures of water) and add salt. Bring to a boil and once the liquid is boiling, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are cooked and tender. Drain the water and set aside for later. Read the instructions on the packet to know the exact quantity of water and cooking time when using other type of lentils.
  • Make the salad: Put the lentils on a large serving plate and arrange the roasted root vegetables on top. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and parsley and drizzle with hazelnut oil.

Can I use pre-cooked lentils?

While using dried lentils for making this salad provides a better taste and texture, you can easily use pre-cooked lentils from a can or a jar. Add the lentils in a mesh strainer and rinse them briefly under cold water then let the water drain.

When serving the salad cold there is no need to warm them, so just add the lentils on the serving plate and top them off with the roasted root vegetables.

When serving this salad warm, heat the drained lentils briefly in a saucepan on low heat before adding them with the root vegetables on the plate.

lentil, celeriac, beets and red onion salad with hazelnuts and parsley on a white plate with pink flowers

Serving suggestions

This lentil recipe with roasted root vegetables can be eaten as a standalone meal for lunch or a light dinner. Serve either warm or cold. It also makes a great salad for a picnic or to take to work for lunch.

You could serve this roasted beets and celery root with lentils as a side dish with grilled meat, fish or chicken. But serve a small portion as it is quite filling.

How to store

When making this salad with lentils and root vegetables in advance or when having leftovers, store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Serve cold straight from the fridge or reheat in a saucepan on low heat or in the microwave oven.

lentil, beets and celery root salad with hazelnut, red onion on a white plate with pink flowers

More root vegetable recipes to try

lentil, celeriac, beets and red onion salad with hazelnuts and parsley on a white plate with pink flowers
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Roasted celery root, beet and lentil salad

This beets, celery root and lentil salad combines roasted root vegetables with cooked green lentils to create a hearty, delicious and wholesome dish. It's a vibrant and colorful salad which is easy to make with minimal effort.
This simple and nutritious salad boasts a complex flavor profile, taking advantage of the unique flavors of each ingredient by combining them into a delightful meal. It is perfect for any occasion as it can be served either hot or cold.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Light Meal
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 4
Author: Sabine

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (300 grams) celery root peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups (300 grams) beets peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion peeled and sliced in half moons
  • ½ cup (100 grams) green lentils dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons hazelnuts roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil
  • fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉ or 175℃.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the beets, celery roots and red onion and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season only with salt and pepper. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes until the celery root and beet chunks are tender and soft when pierced.
  • Meanwhile add the lentils in a saucepan with 2 cups of water (and a little salt) and bring to a boil. Once the liquid boils, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until just tender. Or follow the cooking instructions on the packet for exact cooking times. Drain the lentils when cooked.
  • Place the lentil on a serving dish, arrange the roasted beets, celery root and red onions on top. Garnish with chopped hazelnuts and chopped parsley. Finish with a drizzle of hazelnut oil or olive oil.
  • Serve warm or cold.

Notes

  • Lentils: Depending on the type of lentils, the cooking time may vary. Follow the instructions on the packet for the correct cooking time and amount of water.
  • Canned lentils: You can also use canned or jarred lentils for this recipe. 
  • Nuts: Use either chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans for garnish. You can use them raw or lightly toasted. To toast: Place the chopped nuts in a dry pan on low heat for a few minutes.
  • To serve: This salad can be served at any temperature; hot, lukewarm or cold.
  • To store: Put in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. No, you cannot freeze this salad.
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