A salad with beets and goat cheese is a classic combination, but more of a side dish. We’ve it a meal with a few tasty additions and are sure this salad with roasted beets and figs will be a meatless meal that’s easy to make and prep for quick lunches throughout the work week.
Fall in Love with Balsamic Figs
The star of this salad hands-down are the California Dried Figs. Use either Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission Dried Figs in this recipe since they offer a more robust flavor than our Golden Dried Figs and complement their soaking counterpart: balsamic vinegar. This is the secret of what makes the figs the star—chopped figs are infused in warmed balsamic vinegar with a bit of orange zest so that each bite with figs brings a bit of balsamic sweet and sour to the salad. You might even decide you want to double the figs portion of the recipe for more of that bright balsamic fig pop to come through each bite. As fig lovers, we understand!
Prep Ahead: Remove the stems and chop the figs, warming them in the balsamic as directed below. Store separately in the refrigerator to keep their flavor bright.
Can’t Beat It: Salad with Roasted Beets
Roasting beets is all about passive time that gives you freedom to work on other things. Once they are roasted, run them in cold water until cool to touch and then remove their peels—make sure to wash your hands since their bright color will literally leave you red-handed and you don’t want to stain your clothes. You could use golden or chioggia varieties in this salad with beets for color contrast too, but regular red beets are great here. Beets and figs were meant to be—the earthy sweetness of beets go so well with the fruity sweetness of dried figs, especially mission dried figs.
Prep Ahead: Roast the beets, peel, and chop them up to store in the refrigerator for easy salad assembly later. Pro-tip: while the beets are roasting, make the balsamic figs, pot of lentils and prep the other ingredients.
Take Your Pulse: Lean on Lentils
Do you make lentils? This quick-cooking bean is one of our favorite go-to meatless proteins. In this salad, we use DePuy lentils as they are sturdy and hold their shape while still offering up creamy centers. Feel free to swap out brown lentils if you can’t find DePuy and adjust cooking time as needed, until they still hold their shape but are cooked through.
Prep Ahead: Make the lentils as directed below. Warm up enough for 1 salad at a time and pull out the other salad ingredients while the lentils reheat.
To boost the protein in the salad and also just because they taste amazing in the mix of ingredients, we’ve added toasted walnuts which lend their crunch and that toasty flavor.
Prep Ahead: toast the walnuts on meal prep day and keep separate from the other salad ingredients until you’re planning to eat so they can retain their crunchiness.
Three Cheers for Goat Cheese
Figs pair so perfectly with goat cheese and this salad with roasted beets is no exception. Crumbling on the goat cheese is a final last step to add a tangy creamy texture to the dish.
Prep Ahead: Buy a larger log than you need and cut it into 1 ounce slices but keep the log packaging intact and store in a zipseal bag. Then all you have to do is nudge out the 1 ounce slice and crumble it on while assembling the salads.
Warm Lentil Salad with Beets + Balsamic Figs
- 10 ounces beets
- 1 cup DePuy lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- Dash red pepper flakes
- 1 cup dried figs
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- Kosher salt
- 6 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 8 ounces goat cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Prick each beet 2 to 3 times with a fork. Set them on a baking sheet lined with foil (for easier clean-up). Once the oven comes to temperature, roast the beets for 1 hour or until fork-tender. Run them under cold water until cool to touch. Peel their skins off and cut each bite down the middle lengthwise, cutting both halves into half-moon slices. Set aside or store until ready to assemble salads.
- While the beets are roasting, make the lentils: Pick through the lentils and remove any rocks. Bring a saucepan with the lentils, water, salt, thyme, and red pepper flakes to a boil. Once boiling, cover and lower the heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside or store until ready to assemble salads.
- While the beets roast and the lentils cook, make the balsamic figs: remove the stems and chop the figs. In a small saucepan or microwaveable bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, orange zest, salt, and pepper. Warm and whisk until combined. Stir in the figs and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Portion out the arugula into salad bowls. Top each bowl with 1/4 of the chopped beets, warm lentils, walnuts, figs—and any of the soaking balsamic drizzled on top is great too. Crumble the goat cheese on top.* Season with salt and pepper and serve.