Roasted Carrot Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing
Healthy and hearty lentil salad filled with roasted carrots, radishes, sliced red onion, and tossed with a lemon-tahini dressing. Naturally vegan and gluten-free!
Oh, this roasted carrot lentil salad. The recipe and photographs (all three million of them) have been patiently sitting on my computer for some time. I felt that it was high time that I shared a hearty, super nutritious salad with all of you.
Also, my oldest sister recently commented on the fact that I’ve been sharing a lot of waffles lately. Touché.
Today’s lentil salad can work as a main course (accompanied with a few slices of hearty, crusty bread), side dish, and makes great leftovers. It can be served at room temperature or cold straight from the fridge. If you’re not serving the salad right away, I recommend thinking ahead, preparing this dish on a Sunday morning or afternoon, and saving it for the rest of the week.
There is nothing more satisfying than opening up your fridge at the end of a long work day and realizing that you already have lunch or dinner figured out for the next day…or two!
There are so many things happening in this salad that I can’t even figure out where to begin! Let’s start with the roasted rainbow carrots. I mean, really, is there anything prettier? Grab a bunch of super fresh produce, hand me a camera, and I could literally occupy myself for hours.
My local grocery store in Chicago, Mariano’s, happens to sell bunches of rainbow carrots at a very affordable price. Similarly to how I feel about fingerling potatoes, when it comes to my carrots, the more colors the merrier. Plus, rainbow carrots actually contain loads of extra nutrients as well. In my mind, it is a win-win situation.
Obviously, regular carrots will work just fine for this recipe. However, I do recommend steering yourself towards the super fresh carrots (preferably ones with green leafy stems still attached) for this recipe, because they are generally fresher and you’ll be using the leafy carrot top stems for garnishing the salad!
In addition to the roasted carrots, this salad also contains roasted (and raw) radishes as well! If you’ve ever tasted a raw radish, you know that they can be peppery and a bit spicy! When roasted, radishes are transformed into sweet, juicy bites of caramelized heaven. If you’re not a fan, feel free to leave them out.
Truthfully, this salad would taste great with a wide range of roasted vegetables. Get creative and twist it up!
The most important part of this salad are the lentils. If you’ve ever found yourself in front of the bulk bin section of the grocery store, you know that dried lentils come in a large variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. It can be overwhelming at times.
For this recipe, you’ll want to find French green lentils (referred to as Le Puy lentils). These are my go-to lentils for soups and salads, as they hold their shape extremely well once cooked.
Next comes the tahini dressing! It couldn’t be easier to make and is a simple combination of tahini paste (ground sesame seeds), lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and thinned with warm water.
Truthfully, this dressing tastes great on everything. Literally, everything. I could eat it straight from the bowl. It is that addictive.
On that note, make a double batch and keep the leftovers in the fridge!
Other Favorite Fall Salads:
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash with Dried Cranberries and Dijon Vinaigrette
- Radicchio, Pear, Gorgonzola, Pomegranate, and Walnut Salad
- Roasted Shiitake and Asian Pear Salad with Miso-Sesame Vinaigrette
Roasted Carrot Lentil Salad with Radishes and Tahini Dressing
For the Lentils:
- 1 cup dried French (Puy) green lentils rinsed and picked over
- 1 small yellow onion cut into quarters
- 2 garlic cloves smashed, divided
- 1 dried bay leaf
- ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
For the Roasted Vegetable Mixture:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 bunches of rainbow carrots (8 - 10 medium carrots) scrubbed well and trimmed (leafy stem tops cleaned well and reserved for garnish)
- 7-8 red radishes stems trimmed and scrubbed well, divided
- 5-6 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ red onion very thinly sliced
Lemon Tahini Dressing:
- ¼ cup tahini paste I recommend Soom brand
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons warm water
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C) with a rack in the center position.
- Soak and Cook the Lentils: Place the rinsed lentils in a medium saucepan, along with 3 cups (720 mL) of water, the quartered onion, smashed garlic, bay leaf, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Bring the lentils to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook the lentils for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a fine-meshed sieve and discard the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Place in a large serving bowl to cool. Toss the lentils with a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Roast the vegetables: Slice the carrots into ½-inch rounds. The skinny ends of the carrots can be left in larger chunks, but try to keep the carrots as consistent in size as possible. Cut the radishes into quarters, reserving one radish for garnishing the salad. Place the carrots and radishes on a large sheet pan, along with the unpeeled garlic cloves, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of Diamond Crystal kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Distribute the vegetables evenly on the pan.
- Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing the vegetables every 10 minutes or so, or until the carrots and radishes are caramelized and tender. Remove the roasted garlic cloves from their skin (discard the skin, but keep the cloves) and allow the vegetables to cool to room temperature.
- Add the roasted vegetables and garlic to the cooked lentils, along with the sliced red onion, and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Prepare the Tahini Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It should be thick. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of hot water (depending on your brand of tahini paste, you might need more or less to achieve the right consistency) and whisk gently until smooth. The dressing should be the consistency of a thick salad dressing, but should still easily drizzle from a spoon.
- Assemble: Using a mandolin, slice the remaining radish into very thin slices. Roughly chop some of the reserved leafy stem tops of the carrots (roughly ¼ cup or so). Garnish the salad with the sliced radish and chopped carrot stem tops. Drizzle the salad with the tahini dressing and serve at room temperature. This salad makes great leftovers and can be served cold from the fridge.
49 Comments on “Roasted Carrot Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing”
I’ve made this recipe at least 7 times now and it is absolutely scrumptious! After tasting the tahini dressing on its own the first time I made it, I wasn’t so sure that I would like the salad…but boy was I so wrong! Something magical happens when all these flavors come together! Even my daughter who has never enjoyed cooked carrots or lentils can’t get enough when I make it. Thanks so much for the truly delicious recipe!
Just made this for dinner after a recommendation of how delicious it is from your oldest sister! Yum! Cant wait to have it for dinner!
Not only was the recipe tasty, it left me feeling light & great too! Wow thank you for introducing us to something unique
This recipe was so delicious. I’m trying to get the men in my house to open up to a “one part plant” diet, so this healthy and hearty salad was a perfect endeavor. My husband actually raved about it. We had never roasted radishes before, so that in itself was life-changing. Thanks for making dinner a hit!
So thrilled to hear that! Thank you so much for the feedback Maddison!
Hey, Laura! I LOVE your work! I’m wondering if I can use one of these photos on my website (the one below: “On that note, make a double batch and keep the leftovers in the fridge!”). I’m making a static front page and I would love to include this picture (& I can make sure to link back to your site to ensure that you get credit). I am wondering if you would be open to that! (Also, I totally understand if it isn’t your thing). No pressure 🙂 I just love these photos!
What do you think about using canned lentils? Could save a lot of time on a weeknight…
Hey Erin! Great question. It could definitely work in a pinch, but I don’t really recommend it for best results. I use French green lentils in this salad, which hold their shape very well once cooked. Canned lentils are a different variety, and tend to be fairly mushy in my experience (best used for a quick soup or something) – so they wouldn’t hold up quite as well in this application. Hope this helps!
I made this tonight. I ate as a salad and added a few chopped walnuts. I added steak for my husband and kids as they are not vegans. It was a hit! Sooooo very hearty and complex flavors. Excellent!!!
Love that idea! I haven’t added meat to it, but I imagine so many different things would work: beef, chicken, lamb, etc. Thanks so much for the feedback Cj!
Your site is great but would be so much easier to navigate without all of the adds popping up and getting in the way!
Hi Kristin! I’m really bummed to read this, but understand and appreciate you sharing your thoughts. It’s always a fine line between having ads (which help support the running of this site and what I do for a living) and reader experience. It’s something I really struggle with – and am always re-evaluating. Thanks for sharing and I really hope you come back!
This looks of old, I want to eat it now! But, I’ve only just finished breakfast!
Wow! I absolutely love your photography! What do you shoot with? And do you use all natural light?
Thank you so much Sarah! Yes, I always use natural light! You can find links/info on all my equipment on my FAQ page, hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions:
This salad is everything!
I made this for dinner tonight and added beets and sweet potatoes. It was delicious! I will definitely make again. Now I’m off to bake chocolate chunk oatmeal bread with the calories I saved on dinner. Thanks for the great recipe!!
We made a version of this last night and it was fantastic! I stupidly forgot about the red onion so was missing the crunch factor, but that was my fault… next time we’ll remember. That dressing is absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to make this again!
So thrilled that you liked it Maura! 🙂
So many people think that colder weather means the end of healthy eats, but this salad is proof that that is NOT TRUE! Can’t wait to get my hands on all of these ingredients and get this on my dinner menu!
What a stunning salad! So colourful – your photos are absolutely gorgeous 🙂
Thank you so much Becca!
Very interesting recipe!! I will try it. Can I use the Tahini dressing with other salads pls?
Yes! It’s a great dressing. I love putting it on top of roasted vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, whole roasted carrots, etc.) and it is great on grain salads as well. You could definitely put it on traditional salad too! Feta is a great accompaniment 🙂
i have a huge bag of lentils sitting in my pantry, gotta try this! and that tahini dressing…..mmmmm!
I can’t get over how beautiful this salad is!! I think these are my favorite photos of yours so far, I just love the colors and lighting and everything!! 😀
Thank you SO MUCH Sarah!!!! Really means a lot!
I save so many of your recipes to make later. I am definitely saving this one. The colors are so vibrant, your photography makes food jump out to say eat me!
Thank YOU! 🙂 I love that! That might be the best compliment I’ve ever gotten! 🙂
Those rainbow carrots are amazing! Will be on the look out for those from now on. And with lentils and that tahini dressing?! Perfect for dinner and the sort of leftovers that make a great work lunch – so good! <3
This looks fantastic, and just what Dad and I should be eating after a very rich Scandinavian diet! Yum!
You can never have too many waffles, but there’s always room for a gorgeous salad. Love this version! Pinned.
Don’t worry! I’m sure I’ll post another waffle recipe soon 😉 Thanks Jennie!!! And thank you for sharing!
Aren’t lentils magical? I love how the simplest of ingredients can be thrown together to create a mouth watering dish. This one seems like it just smacked me in the face with “why haven’t you been making this every week” – I need to change that! Officially inspired, thank you 🙂
YES! I love lentils! Whenever I cook with them, I’m always like, “Why the heck don’t I cook these more often?” I should start following my own advice and making a big batch to put in the fridge each week 🙂 Thanks Jessie! I love your blog!
Carrots and lentils are so perfect together. The colors in this salad are amazing. I can understand why you took 3 million photos! They look so great.
P.S. I’m a fan of all the waffles 🙂
Seriously! SO.MANY.PHOTOS. I couldn’t choose! Thanks Kathryn! And glad to hear you like the waffles too 😉 I’ll tell my sister that!
So colourful and delicious looking!! I’m all over this salad…and you can always bring back more waffles soon 🙂
Haha! So true. Thanks Katrina!
This is quite possibly the prettiest, more colorful lentil dish I’ve ever seen! Not to mention it sounds fantastic – lentils, carrots, and tahini are all staples in my household, so hopefully it won’t be long before I give this a try.
Thank you so, so much! I’m obsessed with tahini. I make this type of dressing constantly and love to drizzle it on everything. Let me know if you end up trying it!
This salad is colorful and bursting with nutrition. Exactly what I need after a indulgent week.
Totally know you feel Nicole! Last week was crazy indulgent for me (I went on a freaking cheese and dairy trip! Not that I’m complaining, but a lot of cheese was consumed), so I get it! 🙂
Stunning photography! And the recipe is something my family would love. I’m definitely going to try. Thanks!
Thanks so much Amy! Hope you like it!
I’m seriously just scrolling up and down and staring at these photos. These are INSANELY gorg!
And this salad sounds AMAZING. LOVE that tahini dressing here girl – awesome recipe! Pinned!
THANK YOU TAYLOR! 🙂 You’re so sweet!
This salad is so fresh and colorful! I love all of the topping you’ve added!
Thanks Tori! I had a lot of fun with it! 🙂