A comforting and hearty salad with roasted orange carrots, chestnuts, mushrooms, green lentils, brown rice and pecans, plus a touch of fresh dill.
This recipe is a thousand years old, it was a very popular dish among the people living in the forests during the middle ages in Europe. The kids were sent pick the mushrooms and carrots while the people staying at the village were preparing the rice and green lentils in large copper pots. The dill was also grown in the forest and was added to the salad mostly for its health benefits: boosting the immune system. The salad was so delicious people were preparing large batches to have it for the whole week. Okay okay…I made up everything, I’m not even sure if you can find dill in forests BUT the fact this salad is delicious is true though.
The fresh dill contrasts well with the orange maple-roasted carrots, creating a nice balance of flavors.
The recipe starts with the carrots, that are roasted in a baking dish with the orange juice, maple syrup, soy sauce, olive oil and a touch of cinnamon until they become soft and caramelized.
I used baby carrots but it works well with regular carrots, just cut them lengthwise into sticks. If you prefer you can also chop the carrots into chunks, in this case you might need to reduce a little bit the baking time. I think this would work very well with chopped pumpkin too, feel free to experiment!
While the carrots are baking you have enough time to prepare the green lentils, brown rice and mushrooms.
Green lentils combined with brown rice create a complete protein source, plus the lentils add a nice texture to this salad. Since brown rice and green lentils have approximately the same cooking time, you can cook them together in a single saucepan. Yessssss, less dishes to wash!
One of my favorite things about fall are chestnuts, every time I smell chestnuts roasting in the oven I feel it’s Christmas again. Roasting chestnuts takes some time, so if you are in a hurry you can just use the canned or vacuum-packed ones.
Freshly roasted chestnuts are delicious on their own, just as a snack, but they also make a great addition to any kind of salad or vegetable stir-fry. Did you know that chestnuts, unlike other nuts are very low in fat and high in carbs? Win-win.
This comforting and nutritious salad has all the flavors of fall in every bite, plus it’s super versatile, you can replace the pecans with walnuts, the carrots with pumpkin, etc, basically what you have on hand!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
- 12 baby carrots (you can use different colors)
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- ⅔ cup brown rice
- ⅓ cup green lentils
- 2 cups water
- ½ tsp salt
- 6-8 mushrooms, washed
- ½ cup cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup pecans
- ¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped (optional)
- ⅓ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 small shallot, minced
- zests from one orange (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Wash the carrots. If using normal size carrots: peel them and cut them in 4 lengthwise.
- Place the carrots in a baking dish, add the orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, maple syrup and cinnamon. If you made fresh orange juice, add the orange zests too. Mix everything together, making sure the carrots are well coated. Add water if needed until about ⅓ of the carrots are
- Bake for about 50 minutes, stirring from time to time. Check regularly to be sure there is still some water in the baking dish. Add more water if needed.
- Let cool completely and cut each carrot into bite-size pieces.
- Combine the green lentils, brown rice, water and salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until almost no water remains.
- Chop the mushrooms and sautée in a non-stick skillet for about 5 minutes.
- Deglaze with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and set aside.
- Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, shallot and chopped dill in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, combine the green lentils, brown rice, mushrooms and roasted orange carrots. Add the chopped chestnuts, pecans and cranberries if using. Drizzle with the dill vinaigrette and mix until well combined.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hours. Serve cold.