Home » Carrot, Lentil, and Arugula Salad with Miso Brown Rice and Walnuts

Carrot, Lentil, and Arugula Salad with Miso Brown Rice and Walnuts

Carrot, Lentil, and Arugula Salad with Miso Brown Rice and Walnuts

Carrot, Lentil, and Arugula salad with Miso Brown Rice and Walnuts. Spice rubbed roasted root veggies, miso sesame brown rice, peppery arugula, lentils, raisins, and crunchy walnuts, all tossed in a zesty homemade vinaigrette. This easy, high protein rice bowl is hearty and satisfying, while still tasting light and fresh at the same time. It makes for an easy weeknight dinner, but if you opt to serve it with a chilled glass of white wine and some bakery-fresh bread on the side, you’ll have yourself a meal that’s fancy enough for date night.

This recipe also makes a great lunch for the next day, so I like to make a double batch and leave the dressing off until I’m ready to serve. That way the greens stay fresh in the fridge until lunch time.

I know a lot of people hate cooked carrots – and while I can’t relate because I’m Norwegian and I grew up eating boiled potatoes and carrots with pretty much every meal – I do understand that an over-cooked, under-seasoned cooked carrot can be a little lackluster. BUT TRUST ME, these roasted carrots are anything but lackluster!

The spice rubbed carrots are seasoned with bright coriander, earthy cumin, vibrant paprika (which adds such a beautiful color to anything you roast…potatoes, tempeh…everything) and a touch of cayenne pepper which helps to balance the natural sweetness of the carrots.

A good sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil ties this simple recipe together and then the crucial step: MASSAGE THE VEGGIES. I mean, you could just toss them in a bowl…but just like with my Restaurant Style Brussel Sprouts Recipe, massaging the seasoning all over the carrots and in between the layers of red onion really makes sure that each bite is flavorful and delicious.

Sesame Miso Brown Rice is another great stand alone recipe here – and it’s something you can use as a side dish for a lot of different meals in the future – but here it serves as a hearty serving of whole grains to make this salad more filling. Best part? When combined with the lentils, adding a serving of whole grains like brown rice ensures that this meal has all 9 essential amino acids.

The toasted sesame oil also works so well with the slightly nutty taste of brown rice and the miso paste gives it a rich and savory depth of flavor that is so tasty! You could add some low sodium soy sauce to taste if desired, but go easy, a little goes a long way when paired with miso.

I wrote that the sesame oil and miso paste are optional because plain brown rice – or any cooked grain – would work too. I love that every element of this salad is seasoned seperately and therefore each component brings something delicious to the plate, but if you’re short on time or don’t have miso paste, regular rice is just fine.

You could also substitute white rice, farro, quinoa, or millet for the brown rice if desired. 

LENTILS 101:

Either precooked or canned lentils can be used this recipe. And of course, you could sub chickpeas or another legume if you like.

I usually cook my own from dried lentils because it’s very inexpensive and super easy to do! My favorite way to cook lentils is to add them to boiling water along with a bay leaf, a 2 inch chunk of red onion, and a pinch of salt. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until softened. Then drain the water and remove the onion and bay leaf.

Seriously, this method is a game changer and it adds so much flavor to the lentils!

As usual, the toppings are the recipe All Stars. I happen to think that good recipes are always tied together with tasty toppings that add color and texture to the final dish.

Even though they’re toppings, I don’t think of these ingredients as just “garnish”…quite the opposite actually! These guys are the real MVPs and it’s the tangy homemade vinaigrette, chewy mandated raisins, and crunchy chopped walnuts that take this salad to the next level!

Carrot, Lentil, and Arugula Salad with Miso Brown Rice and Walnuts

Nicole Vranjican
Savory roasted carrots, miso sesame brown rice, fresh arugula, lentils, walnuts, and raisins tossed in a tangy homemade vinagrette. Spring on a plate!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course, Salad
Servings 3 servings

Ingredients
  

Savory Roasted Carrots

  • 6 large carrots
  • ½ red onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Sesame Miso Brown Rice

  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tsp chickpea miso
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Remaining Ingredients

  • cup cooked lentils home cooked or canned, see notes for substitutes
  • 5 cups arugula
  • 2 handfuls raisins
  • 2 handfuls chopped walnuts

Dressing

  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 4 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 2 pinches black pepper

Instructions
 

Prep

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper if desired.
    Peel and chop the carrots. I like to cut them in 3s on a diagonal and then slice each piece in half to make a 2-bite-sized shape.
    Then roughly chop the onion and set all of the veggies aside.

Step 1: Savory Roasted Carrots

  • Place the carrots and onions onto the cookie sheet and top with olive oil and all of the spices. Toss to coat evenly then spread into an even layer and bake for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender and caramelized around the edges.
    Note: if you cut them smaller that th 2-bite-size they'll cook faster, so adjust cooking time as needed.

Step 2: Easy Homemade Dressing

  • Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the raisins to to the vinaigrette to give them a chance to plump up and marinate while you assemble the salad. Then set aside.

Step 3: Make the Miso Sesame Brown Rice

  • While the carrots are roasting, cook the brown rice according to the package directions with a pinch of salt. This should take about 20 minutes.
    Then fluff the cooked rice with a fork and add the miso and toasted sesame oil while the rice is still warm. Mix well to distribute evenly.
    Taste and add more salt if desired.
    Note: A few dashes of low sodium soy sauce or tamari is good too.
    Set aside to cool.

Assemble

  • When the carrots, rice, and homemade dressing are complete, all that's left to do is assemble! So in a large mixing bowl combine the roasted carrots and onions, brown rice, lentils, arugula, walnuts, raisins, and dressing.
    Toss well to combine, then divide between two plates and finish with some freshly cracked black pepper on top. Enjoy!

Notes

Servings Size:
This salad / grain bowl hybrid makes 2-3 hearty servings if served alone as a meal but it could easy serve 4-6 as a side fish if accompanied with other dishes. 
Pro Tips:
  1. I like to allow the carrots and brown rice to cool slightly before mixing in the greens. This prevents wilting.
  2. Sometimes I double or triple the dressing recipe so that I can serve extra on the side. The leftover dressing keeps in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
  3. I also love to serve this salad with lots of fresh lemons and some garlic hummus on the side. 
Brown Rice
I wrote that the sesame oil and miso paste are optional because plain brown rice – or any cooked grain – would work too. I love that every element of this salad is seasoned and brings something delicious to this salad but if you’re short on time or don’t have miso paste, regular rice is just fine.
You could also substitute white rice, farro, quinoa, or millet for the brown rice if desired. 
Dressing Options:
If you don’t want to make your own dressing, any store-bought option you like will work instead. My Vegan Honey Mustard Dressing is also really great for this recipe, so give that a try if you’re looking for something creamer. 
 
Don’t have or want to use lentils? Sub 1 cup of canned chickpeas instead! 
Keyword arugula salad, bowls, brown rice, buddah bowl, dinner meal prep, grain bowl, healthy vegan dinner recipe, how to roast carrots, raisins, roasted carrot, spring meal prep, spring meal prep vegan, spring recipes, unique salads, vegan dinner recipes for meal prep, vegan spring recipes, walnuts

If you enjoyed this recipe post, please let me know in the comments and consider leaving a 5 star review below to let me know that you’d like to see more colorful, plant-focused recipes like this on the blog!

Hope you all have a great day. Thanks for stopping by and happy cooking!

Love,

Nicole

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Nicole Vranjican

Hey! I’m Nicole and I make practical vegan recipes for REAL life. I cook with simple, easy to find ingredients and I’m passionate about creating delicious plant-based meals that everyone will love!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and videos :) Happy Cooking!

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9 Comments

  1. Ronda
    April 6, 2021 / 1:43 am

    5 stars
    I am in the middle of eating this for the first time, and I felt that I had to stop and say, Oh. My. God. This is so good! Thanks for a delicious dinner. I will definitely be making this again, maybe even tomorrow. 😋

    • Nicole
      Author
      April 10, 2021 / 12:53 am

      AWWWWW this comment made me so happy! Thank you Ronda! 😊😊 I’m so happy that you’re enjoying it! Thank you so much for letting me know, that really means a lot!

  2. Siani
    April 7, 2021 / 2:16 pm

    5 stars
    I really loved how all the flavors and textures went together. My family thought it was really delicious, so I will definitely be making this again.

    I would say that for next time, I might cut the amount of ACV in half because we thought that it he acidity was a little overpowering. I did add garlic powder on the dressing and cumin instead of coriander on the carrots, since I ran out!

    • Nicole
      Author
      April 8, 2021 / 8:39 pm

      Yum that sound great! And good note! You can also add more olive oil and maple to make it less tangy too 😊😊

  3. Kristin
    April 8, 2021 / 7:40 pm

    5 stars
    This was delicious! Used white rice since that was all I had and chickpeas rather than lentils and I will definitely be making it again 🙂

    • Nicole
      Author
      April 8, 2021 / 8:38 pm

      That sounds great! I’m so happy you enjoyed it 😊😊 Thanks for making my recipe!

  4. Hailey
    April 13, 2021 / 9:27 pm

    5 stars
    Love how simple yet delicious this is! Eating the carrots like candy- they are so good! Great spring salad!

  5. kimberly
    April 25, 2021 / 7:06 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious recipe. I doubled it and served it with Sunday night dinner…my kids loved it too!…Thank You, Nikki!

    • Nicole
      Author
      May 31, 2021 / 6:10 pm

      Thanks Kimberly! I’m thrilled to hear that!! I’m so glad that you and your family liked it 😊 Thanks for letting me know!

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