This salad is going to be polarizing.
There are two types of people in the world (you know, generally) – those who like beets and those who don’t. And I feel those who like beets also tend like things like lentils and fennel.
So for half of you, this French Lentil Salad with Fennel and Beets is going to be your new fave go-to. For the rest of you, just look how pretty it is tho?
Lentil salads popped up a bunch in my research of French cuisine. I’m loving the heavy butter dishes and pastries but sometimes you just need a salad full of roasted veggies and fiber-rich grains.
I love lentils, but I don’t totally love a whole bowl of them. The texture is a little…mealy… and unappealing after a few bites.
So I added farro to this to add another texture to the mix.
Beets and fennel are all over the market and let’s use what’s available? The two vegetables complement each other wonderfully because they get sweet in the oven as you roast them.
The best thing about these two veggies is YOU CAN USE THE TOPS. Beet greens are the new kale, and fennel is a fun herby topping to any salad. Don’t you dare throw them out.
So you’ve got chewy farro, hearty lentils, sweet roasted fennel, and beets. Now all you need is some tang in the form of dijon dressing and parsley.
I topped my French Lentil Salad with Fennel and Beets with creamy goats cheese because beets love goats cheese. They just do, ask them sometime. They’ll tell you.
The only annoying thing about this salad is actually cooking the beets. Some people are sooooo prepared and use gloves and whatever but I’m lazy, I forget and I walk around with pink hands for a few days.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I prefer to eat this salad room temp, and it keeps in the fridge for at least a few days.
French Lentil Salad with Fennel and Beets
(start making 60 minutes before you want French Lentil Salad with Fennel and Beets)
Turn your oven to 400F. Cut the beetroot from the leaves and wrap each root in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.
About halfway through, chop your fennel root into 1-inch pieces and toss in 1 Tbsp oil and a pinch of salt. Add to the pan in the oven and roast for remaining 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the lentils and farro on the stovetop. Heat up a large pot of water and once boiling, add the lentils and farro. Partially cover and reduce to a simmer. You want these on the chewier side, so they need to simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
In the last 5 minutes, add the beet greens to the pot of lentils and farro to soften the leaves.
Drain the lentils, farro, and beet greens, set aside in a large bowl.
Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients.
Once beets and fennel are done, remove from oven and let cool slightly. Once you can handle them, peel the beets and slice them into 1-inch pieces. Add these to the bowl of lentils, farro and beet greens.
Mix in the dressing while everything is still a little warm. Serve right away with goat cheese, chopped fennel tops and parsley or let it chill in the fridge first.