Healthy recipe: Barley & lentil root veg roast

3 min. read
Healthy recipe: Barley & lentil root veg roast
BY Virgin Active
Posted On 28 June, 2023

Are you looking for nutrition tips and a healthy recipe? Give this Barley & Lentil Root Veg Roast a try.

Beetroot is a source of complex carbs and some protein (about 2g per serving), while lentils also add protein, making this a balanced dish of complex carbs and protein that just so happens to be vegetarian. Serves 2-3

“Pearl barley is a great, nutrient-rich, slow energy releasing complex carbohydrate to introduce into your homecooked dishes.” – Chef John Berry


  • 6-8 beetroots, peeled and quartered
  • 400g sweet potato, cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp (5ml) of each fennel, cumin and mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp (3ml) ground cardamom (optional)
  • Salt and miller pepper
  • 1 ½ cups (375ml) raw pearl barley (spelt works well too)
  • ½ cup (125ml) raw black lentils
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • ¼ punnet (5g) of each mint and fennel, chopped, for serving
  • ½ packet (50g) toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped
  • ¼ cup (60ml) sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbsp (30-45ml) olive oil
  • 1 packet (100g) baby leaf mix, rocket or salad leaves of choice
  • Pickled red onions, for serving
  • Handful pomegranate rubies (optional)
  • ½ packet (50g) almonds and hazelnuts (optional)

Let’s get cooking:

Preheat oven to 180°C.

  • Toss roasting vegetable ingredients together in a pan to coat evenly, and arrange in a single layer. Roast for 30-40 minutes until tender.
  • Meanwhile, combine barley, lentils, stock and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat for 20-23 minutes until tender. Top up with water if liquid has evaporated but barley and lentils aren’t tender yet. Set aside to cool.
  • Combine grain mixture with herbs and pumpkin seeds on a serving platter and pile roasting veg and leaves on top.
  • Whisk together vinegar and olive oil for the dressing.
  • Top with pickled onions and pomegranate rubies, if using, and drizzle with dressing.
  • Add ½ packet (50g) almonds and hazelnuts for added crunch and heart healthy fats.

Tailor make it for you

  1. Make it for muscle building: Double up on lentils – it will still give you energy and fibre, as it is a source of complex carbohydrates, but also has significant amounts of protein. Remember to increase water when cooking.
  2. Missing the meat? Serve as a side to pan-fried chicken, fish or steak, keeping in mind that your side also contains protein from lentils.

Bon appetit! Explore our blog for other yummy and healthy recipes today.