This easy roast beef salad recipe is a great way to use up leftover cold roast beef. Toss the shaved roast beef with green lentils and a punchy mustard dressing for an easy lunch or dinner. Or tuck the salad into a lunchbox for a simple work lunch.
TOTAL TIME INVESTMENT: 35 MINUTES
Christmas dinner was at our house, and being from good country stock I had enough food to feed everybody a few times over. And not content with a fridge full of leftovers I encouraged Mr Grumpy to roast a piece of beef in his relatively new BBQ, which just compounded the problem further.
I am not very resourceful when it comes to using my leftovers; a situation Mr Grumpy and the chickens are quite happy about. However my New Year’s resolution is to try and make better use of those leftovers.
It is estimated that food waste costs the global economy close to $940 billion each year, and our inability to use up leftovers is one of the major contributors to this growing problem.
So do you have a problem with leftovers? To help you out I have put together a guide for using up the most common leftovers found in the home kitchen. Click the link below to download your free guide from my Resource Library now, or request the library password at the end of this post.
This roast beef salad recipe is really just a good marriage of complementary ingredients. The earthiness of the green lentils pairs well with the savoury notes of the cold roast beef, and the salad is tied together by some crisp green leaves and a sharp, mustardy dressing. I hope you like it as much as we do.
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Ingredient Substitutions for this cold roast beef salad recipe
This easy roast beef salad is very much a composition of what I had in the fridge at the time. Feel free to tweak it according to what you have on hand and the preferences of your family.
- I prefer to use freshly cooked green Puy lentils in this salad, although any of the small lentil varieties will work well: red (not split), black (Beluga) or green lentils. I would avoid using the larger, flatter green-brown lentils in this roast beef salad as (in my opinion) they do not have the same flavour as their smaller cousins.
- If you really must, you could use a tin of lentils in place of the freshly cooked lentils. Canned lentils can be quite soft, so may not retain their form when the salad is tossed.
- I have used cold leftover roast beef in this salad, but this could easily be replaced with sliced cold roast beef purchased from a good deli or butcher instead.
- Sliced BBQ steaks could also be used in place of the leftover roast beef. Freshly cooked sliced steaks would work well in this salad.
- Sun dried tomatoes or oven dried tomatoes can be used in place of the fresh tomatoes.
- Finely sliced salad onion can be used instead of the spring onion.
- Any salad leaves can be used in this roast beef salad recipe. Over time I have used washed baby spinach, mixed lettuce, rocket (arugula) and baby beetroot leaves. All of them work well here.
- White wine vinegar can be used in place of the red wine vinegar.
- Try wholegrain mustard in place of the Dijon mustard.
Should I soak lentils before cooking?
I am rather fond of lentils. They cook quite quickly and are extremely versatile. I like to use them as a base for salads, such as this roast beef salad, add them to hearty soups, turn them into a quick dip, use them to bulk out meat pies, or simply serve lightly seasoned lentils as a side dish for meat and fish.
I prefer to use the small green lentils, which I’ve seen sold under many different names: French lentils, French-style lentils, and Puy lentils to name but a few. And I avoid the larger flat, greeny brown lentils that are widely available, finding them tasteless, and starchy, and difficult to use as they break up easily.
Lentils don’t need to be soaked, although soaking lentils will significantly decrease their cooking time. Unsoaked lentils take around 20 – 30 minutes to cook, yet I have cooked soaked lentils in as little as 12 minutes.
To soak lentils, I simply place them in a stainless steel bowl and cover them with water. I try to do this early in the morning if I am cooking the lentils later that day. Drain the lentils just before cooking, rinse them briefly, and then cook as specified in the recipe.
Leftover Roast Beef Salad Recipe – A Few Final Tips
This roast beef salad is so easy to put together that I hope it enters regular rotation at your place. I leave you with a few finals tips to make the most of it:
- My easy roast beef salad recipe makes an ideal main meal for a hot summer’s day. You can prepare the bulk of the salad in advance and toss through the salad leaves just prior to serving. Add a crusty loaf of bread to finish off the meal and to mop up the mustardy juices.
- You can cook the lentils in advance and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to make the salad. Cooked lentils will be fine in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
- This roast beef salad can also be served warm. Cook the lentils just prior to serving for a warm salad.
- The dressing should be quite tart prior to dressing the salad. The dressing will mellow when added to the rest of the ingredients.
- Leftover roast beef salad will last in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.
Other Main meal Salad Recipes You may Like
Main meal salads are my favourite thing to make for dinner at the height of summer. They are easy to prepare ahead, and leftovers make great lunches for the following days. If this is you too, you may also like:
- Tomato & White Bean Salad
- Roasted Beetroot Salad with Goats Cheese & Walnuts
- Nutty Soba Noodle Salad with Crispy Tempeh
- Quinoa, Feta & Grilled Zucchini Salad
- Vegetable Couscous Salad
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Easy Leftover Cold Roasted Beef Salad with Lentils
For the mustard dressing
- 90 ml (6 Tbsp) olive oil
- 30 ml (2 Tbsp) red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Salt & pepper
For the salad
- 200 g (1 cup) small green French (Puy) lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 300 g (10 oz) shredded roast beef
- 250 g (9 oz) cherry tomatoes (1 punnet) halved
- 1 spring onion sliced
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 100 g (2 cups) washed salad leaves
For the mustard dressing
- Put all of the dressing ingredients into an old jar, and shake for 30 seconds until emulsified.
- Taste the dressing. It should be quite tart and the mustard should be quite strong. Add more vinegar and mustard if necessary and shake again.
- Set the dressing aside.
For the salad
- Place the lentils in a saucepan of cold water and add the bay leaf.
- Bring the lentils to the boil, then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until tender.
- Drain and set aside. This step can be done ahead if you are making a cold salad.
- Place the halved tomatoes, spring onions and parsley in a large bowl.
- Toss the ingredients lightly to combine.
- Add the drained lentils and shaved beef to the bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the rest of the salad ingredients and toss gently again to coat the beef and lentils with the dressing.
- Add the salad leaves and gently toss again.
- Serve with some good crusty bread to mop up the dressing.
- Cook the lentils up to three days in advance and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to make the salad.
- To serve the salad warm, cook the lentils just prior to serving.
- The dressing should be quite tart when made. It will mellow when added to the salad ingredients.
- The salad will last in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.
- Leftovers are great for the lunchbox.
Update Notes: This post was originally published on 14th January 2016. It was substantially updated on 14th May 2019 to include ingredient substitutions, nutritional information, additional tips and to improve the readability of the text.