Roasted Root & Lentil Salad with Maple Almond Dressing
Earthy beets, sweet potatoes, and mildly bitter kale strike a flavor highpoint when tossed with a tangy maple almond dressing.  A sprinkle of roasted sunflower seeds before serving offers a hint of crunch.

Yields: 6-8 servings (or 4 generous dinner salads)

For the Maple Almond Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons almond butter*
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (I recommend a brand like Bragg’s that includes the “mother”)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill

For the Roasted Root Kale Salad

  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) brown lentils (TruRoots’ “sprouted lentil trio” is a great option that cooks in about 5  minutes)
  • 1 pound (about 3 medium) red beets, peeled (or prepare in advance with [one of these easy options|]
  • 1 pound (about 2 medium) sweet potatoes (I like to keep the skin on; peel if preferred)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 cups chopped kale** (about one 8 to 10-ounce bunch–stripped of tough stems and chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Roasted sunflower seeds for serving (may substitute toasted pepitas, chopped almonds, or a combination)


  1. For the dressing:  Stir the maple syrup into the almond butter.  Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper and stir to fully blend.  The dressing may be prepared in advance and stored in a jar or covered container in the refrigerator for several days.  Stir or shake well before using.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Chop the beets and sweet potatoes into bite-size pieces.*** Place on a lightly-greased baking sheet, toss with the olive oil, and roast for 20-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through, or until the veggies are just tender.  Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the lentils according to the package directions (this will vary based on variety of lentil chosen), drain, and set aside.  The lentils may be prepared up to several days in advance and refrigerated.  Tip: When cooking the lentils, add 2 teaspoons of salt to 4 cups of cooking water.  Most of the salt will be drained off, but this will result in more flavorful lentils.
  4. When ready to assemble the salad, place the kale in a large salad bowl, and sprinkle with the 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt.  Massage the kale with your fingers for about 2 minutes.  The leaves will soften and become a darker shade of green.  Add the beets, sweet potatoes, and lentils.  Drizzle with approximately 2/3 of the dressing, and toss well.  Add more dressing to taste, or reserve for later use. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds just before serving.  If you anticipate leftovers, you may wish to sprinkle the seeds over individual servings for best crunch.


  • *For a nut-free option, you may substitute tahini (sesame seed paste).
  • **May use spinach in place of kale.  In this case the leftovers won’t keep as well as when heartier kale is used.
  • ***I often prepare the various elements of this salad separately; the sweet potatoes, for example, may be leftover and maybe I’ll make extra lentils for a different meal later.  This recipe offers a streamlined way to do everything at once.  When baking the beets and sweet potatoes on the same sheet, it is helpful to chop the potatoes in slightly larger pieces so that they’ll finish at the same time as the beets. For more control, the vegetables may be placed on 2 separate baking sheets.

More recipes at