Warm Lentil & Kale Winter Salad (Vegan)

by Alena

Make this colorful warm lentil and kale winter salad to enjoy everything this season has to offer in one bowl! This healthy recipe is easy to follow, nutrient-packed and flavorful.

We’re really big fans of winter salads! Layers of roasted vegetables on a bed of crunchy greens, seasonal add-ins and a delicious dressing are all it takes to make any winter weeknight that much cozier.

This warm lentil and kale salad combines hearty vegetables, protein-packed lentils, filling grains, juicy pomegranate seeds and other delicious add-ins to create a super healthy and satisfying dish.

Just like our roast pumpkin feta salad, spinach fig salad and sweet potato arugula salad, this vegan winter salad works both as a main meal or side dish when enjoyed with some crusty bread or as part of your holiday spread!

If you love seasonal meals, be sure to check out our favorite vegan winter recipes like this rainbow Buddha bowl after reading this article.

Here’s why you need to make our warm lentil and kale salad along with some tips to save time and customize this recipe to your preferences.

close up of vegan winter kale salad with lentils and pomegranate seeds

Recipe overview

  • So flavorful and nutrient-packed
  • High in antioxidants & protein
  • Easily customizable & meal prep-friendly
  • Bursting with color and texture
  • Budget-friendly 30-minute recipe

This warm lentil and kale salad is a great example of how to enjoy healthy veggies and bowls all year long!

Check out our favorite vegan summer salads and oil-free vegan dressings for more inspiration.

Ingredients needed

  • Bulgur — adding some hearty grains to salads is a great way to bulk them up!
  • Green lentils — for their earthy flavor, minerals, protein and long-lasting satiety.
  • Kale — other leafy greens work as well.
  • Red cabbage — this nutrient powerhouse gets roasted with a simple marinade.
  • Carrots — adding more color, crunch and nutrients!
  • Onion & parsley — delicious in any winter salad.
  • Pomegranate seeds — for a burst of juicy goodness!
  • Flavorings — this recipe uses mustard, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Doesn’t that combination sound so delicious? In terms of equipment, only basic things like a baking sheet, pot and bowl are needed.

woman in white shirt and apron leaning over a table and holing fresh spinach and arugula in her hands
two hands cutting red cabbage on a white surface

How to make warm lentil kale salad

Cook the bulgur

Since this warm winter kale salad can be used as a main meal, let’s add some filling grains to it! You can use buckwheat, quinoa, couscous, wheat berries or whatever else you fancy.

Simply cook the grains according to the package directions, then stir in the cooked lentils, salt and pepper. Cover to keep everything warm until you’re ready to assemble the lentil kale salad.

Roast red cabbage

Slice your red cabbage thinly and toss with mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper. Then arrange it in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes until tender.

Massage the kale

Sturdier greens like kale like to be massaged in flavorful liquids like lemon juice, olive oil or dressing. We’ll go for lemon juice and salt for this simple winter salad! 

Using your hands, massage your leafy greens until they become tender and reduced in size.

Assemble the winter salad

In a large bowl, combine the massaged kale, carrot, onion and parsley. Stir to combine, then add the cooked bulgur and lentil mixture. Top with pomegranate seeds and stir once more.

Divide between serving bowls, sprinkle with hemp seeds and drizzle with tahini or other sauces of your liking, then enjoy warm!

bowl of colorful vegan kale winter salad with lentils, bulgur and a fork

Serving & storage suggestions

This warm lentil kale salad is best enjoyed within half an hour of making it. However, we personally don’t mind its texture and flavor once the winter salad has become cold and will gladly eat its leftovers within 2 days or so when stored in the fridge.

We love this recipe as part of our plant-based Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner alongside mashed potatoes, chickpea meatloaf and brown gravy.

Recommended toppings & dressings

Tips for this recipe

Meal prep this winter salad

Just use any leftover cooked grains for this salad and buy pre-chopped vegetables to save some time. 

You can also skip roasting the red cabbage if you like!

Preparing the kale

Remove the stems because they are bitter and hard to chew. Use curly or lacinato kale for this winter salad and literally massage the leaves with your hands.

This is needed to make the kale tender! You can also steam it or fold it into your warm bulgur and lentil mixture in the pot to make it tender.

More seasonal vegan recipes

If you like this warm lentil kale salad, try these plant-based recipes next!

Did you make our lentil kale winter salad and like it? Be sure to leave a comment below, give this recipe a rating and Pin it here!

close up of vegan winter kale salad with lentils and pomegranate seeds

Warm Lentil & Kale Winter Salad (Vegan)

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Make this colorful warm lentil and kale winter salad to enjoy everything this season has to offer in one bowl! This healthy recipe is easy to follow, nutrient-packed and really flavorful. Great for weeknights or as part of your holiday spread!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur (140 g), dry
  • 1 cup green lentils (200 g), cooked
  • 1 small red cabbage head, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups kale (32 g), thinly sliced
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup parsley (15 g), roughly chopped
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds (85 g)
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tahini (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cook bulgur according to package directions. Once the bulgur is done, stir in the cooked green lentils and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a lid and keep warm.
  3. In the meantime, toss the red cabbage with mustard, soy sauce, vinegar and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to your prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer, then roast for 10-15 minutes until the cabbage is tender.
  4. While the cabbage is in the oven, add the sliced kale to a large salad bowl and top with lemon juice and salt. Gently massage the kale until it starts to wilt slightly. 
  5. Add in the carrots, red onion and parsley to the kale in the bowl, then toss to combine.
  6. Once the bulgur and cabbage are done, transfer them to the bowl and mix well with a spoon.
  7. Top your warm lentil and kale winter salad with pomegranate seeds and hemp seeds. Drizzle with runny tahini if you like, then serve immediately and enjoy warm!

Notes

  • This warm lentil kale salad works with lots of different dressings; you can enjoy it as written in the recipe or add any vinaigrette, tahini, etc. 
  • If you have any pre-cooked grains, just use them instead of the dry bulgur.
  • To save some time, you can skip the roasting of the cabbage and just add it uncooked.
  • Feel free to bump up the calorie and fat content by adding olive oil to the cabbage or kale and top the salad with pecans or walnuts!
  • Nutrition information has automatically been calculated without any tahini.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: ½ recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 426Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 774mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 27gSugar: 25gProtein: 23g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed. Just focus on whole plant-based foods and eat until satiety!

Please rate & share if you like this!

Leave a comment on our blog or share on Pinterest or Instagram.

Alena sitting in a cafe with a bowl of fresh plant-based food and a glass of coffee in front of her

About Alena Handwritten FontAlena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.

Leave a Comment

Skip to Recipe