Heirloom Carrot and Lentil Salad

Aren’t heirloom carrots beautiful? I love the varying hues of purple, yellow, orange and white. I have a thing for fruit and vegetables that are different  than their usual shade (am I the only one?)- green cauliflower, orange tomatoes, yellow beets, purple potatoes. So fun!

Heirloom vegetables are not merely a feast for the eyes- they are full of disease-busting antioxidants and phytochemicals that your body will thank you for. If you can’t find (or don’t want to pay for) heirloom carrots, this salad could, of course, be made with the traditional orange carrots and be just as delicious!

Perfect for fall…and your lunchbox. This recipe makes about 4 servings. To keep it fresh, store the ingredients separately.

I hope you enjoy!

For the roasted veggies:
2 bunches of heirloom carrots (about 15-20 small, or fewer if larger), peeled and trimmed (I like to leave a little of the greens but you don’t have to!)
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Salt & pepper, to taste
Drizzle of olive oil

For the dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 tsp honey or maple syrup (if required- I try to avoid adding sugars wherever possible)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Remaining ingredients:
1-19oz can lentils, drained and rinsed
1-142g container arugula
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4 cup feta, crumbled

1) Preheat oven to 425F. Arrange carrots and red onion on a parchment-lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices. Toss them around using your hands to distribute the spices evenly. Roast for 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned and crispy at the edges and cooked through.

2) Prepare the dressing. Place all dressing ingredients (minus the honey/ maple syrup) into a mason jar and shake it up. Taste first to determine if you’ like to add the honey/ maple syrup- remember, the carrots and red onion are naturally sweet tasting, so once everything is mixed together you may not need it :).

3) Toast the pumpkin seeds. Heat a dry pan over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cook for about 5-6 minutes, tossing regularly. Watch them closely as they burn easily. This step is optional- but they taste so good toasted!

4) Place all salad ingredients into a large bowl or serving platter, drizzle with dressing (you may not wish to use all of it), and toss gently to combine. (*If planning to save some as leftovers, store ingredients separately for best result. If there’s no room in the fridge for this, store the salad tossed together with the dressing separate).