I went to the Mae Deli for the first time recently and had a particularly delicious seasonal veg, beet and red rice salad that inspired this vegan AND gluten-free recipe perfect for your new year health-kick.

I didn’t have any red rice to hand, and wanted to make a recipe that was a bit more accessible to everyone, so I thought about combining quinoa and lentils with the seasonal veg.

My go-to way of making a really tasty and hearty salad is to roast some veggies to go in it. Hot or cold, you can’t go wrong with roasted veg and at this time of the year, it adds a little somethin’ somethin’.

This salad is great alone or with a selection. If you usually only cook for yourself like me, I advise you to make a batch of this salad to keep in the fridge for weekly dinners, or box up for working lunches. Equally tasty hot or cold and with a fridge life of several days in an air-tight container, it’s the perfect recipe for Sunday meal prep.

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Total Cooking Time: 1hr – 1hr 15 mins

Yield: Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

2 cups chantilly carrots

2 cups brussel sprouts

½ head broccoli

1 cup chopped butternut squash

3 large pre-cooked beets (chopped)

¾ cup mixed quinoa (red, white and black)

¾ cup dry green lentils

Fresh spinach leaves

Low salt vegetable stock cube

Boiling water

Sesame oil

Extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp Garlic powder

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to fan 180°C.

Rinse the dry lentils in a sieve under the tap and add to a saucepan of 3-parts water, 1-part lentils over a high heat. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to medium, and leave to cook for 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and prepare the carrots and squash for roasting. Chop the heads off the carrots and slice them in half. Remove the skin and seeds from the butternut squash and chop into small chunks. Drizzle half olive oil and half sesame oil in 2 large roasting tins and put the carrots and squash into one, mix the veggies the oil thoroughly and season with plenty of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes.

Chop the bases off the sprouts and peel off the excess leaves and chop the broccoli into bite-sized chunks. Mix into the oil in the second roasting tin and season. Once the carrots and squash are beginning to soften (after about 30 minutes), turn them so they crisp up on both sides, add the broccoli and sprouts to the tray (or start a new one) and return to the oven. Watch the contents of the oven and make sure you remove the vegetables before they over cook, they should only need another 10 minutes at this stage.

While the veg is roasting, boil 1 1/2 cups water in a saucepan over a high heat, and mix in the vegetable stock cube until completely dissolved. Turn the heat to medium and add the quinoa. Allow the quinoa to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add half of the chopped beets to the saucepan. Mix the quinoa and beets thoroughly and cook for another few minutes, stirring regularly to ensure the quinoa doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the quinoa is cooked through (you will see the germ of the seed), transfer the contents of the pan into a sieve and drain any excess water.

Combine the roasted vegetables and the quinoa/beets in a large salad bowl. Add the rest of the chopped beets and as many fresh spinach leaves as you fancy. Add the red wine vinegar, another small glug of sesame oil and the chilli flakes, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well and serve immediately or once cool!

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