Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Salad
on Sep 27, 2021, Updated Jul 08, 2022
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Tossed in lemon vinaigrette, this roasted cauliflower lentil salad is a wonderfully filling mix that includes green olives, red onions and pistachios.
Table of Contents
Who says salad ingredients have to be raw? Especially during fall and winter, I love adding things that are cooked to my salad repertoire.
Roasted vegetables like cauliflower become the feature instead of raw veggies and greens. And you really don’t even need lettuce!
This roasted cauliflower lentil salad certainly makes the case for ditching the leaves and going for a base with more bite instead.
I am excited about this salad for all the textures and flavors that make it into this bowl. It also includes green olives, red onions, pistachios and lemon vinaigrette.
The best kinds of salads are the ones that have a little bit of everything.
What Are Lentils?
Because they grow in pods, lentils are part of the legume family—a cousin of beans and chickpeas.
They come in different colors like green, brown, red and yellow. Some, including red, are better for soups because they soften and almost melt into the broth.
On the other hand, black lentils are great for salads because they maintain their shape. That means cooked black lentils can stand up to being tossed with other ingredients and mixed with dressing.
Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber and, so I like keeping a few different varieties in my pantry at all times no matter the season. They are reliable starting point for plant-based meals.
The Best Way To Cut Cauliflower To Roast It
Besides lentils, the other star of this salad is of course the cauliflower. And there’s a way to get it just right for the recipe.
When you’re roasting anything, the amount of contact it makes on the pan is important because that’s where you can maximize its browning potential.
Rather than breaking the cauliflower into florets for this salad, I slice it. Those flat edges give the potential for more surface area to touch the sheet pan. It’s an easy win.
After the cauliflower is roasted, I roughly chop it, so it’s sized to go with the lentils and olives.
This is what you need for this roasted cauliflower salad:
- Cauliflower: Look for cauliflower where the florets are tightly packed together. You shouldn’t see any dark spots or feel any soft spots. Store the head in the refrigerator.
- Red Onions: Even though the color may fade with roasting, I love red onions for their spicy flavor. Yes, it does get toned down somewhat from roasting.
- Black Lentils: The ultimate salad lentil! If you can’t find black lentils, the next best option is French lentils, which are smaller than the usual green lentils. They also hold their shape like black lentils.
- Green Olives: My first choice is Castelvetrano olives. They have a meaty texture and are more sweet than salty.
- Pistachios: Chopped raw pistachios add nutty texture and flavor to the salad.
- Parsley: For something herby and fresh, I stir in chopped parsley leaves.
- Lemon Vinaigrette:The dressing is a simple lemon vinaigrette made with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
How To Make A Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Salad
- Roast the cauliflower and red onions. Since this takes the longest, it’s best to start with roasting. Once the cauliflower is trimmed and sliced, toss it and the onions with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then spread everything over a sheet pan. Roast flipping the cauliflower about halfway through cooking.
- Roughly chop the roasted cauliflower.
- Simmer the lentils on the stove. You can do this while the cauliflower and onions are roasting in the oven.
- Combine the lentils, cauliflower, onions, olives, pistachios and parsley in a big bowl.
- Make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Stir the vinaigrette into the salad.
How To Serve A Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Salad
If you are comparing this salad to one with greens, lentils definitely make it more filling. It eats like a meal similar to a grain bowl.
Enjoy the cauliflower salad for a lunch or dinner main course. It is good at room temperature, or I like the leftovers chilled from the fridge.
Try These Other Roasted Cauliflower Recipes
Kale Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Herby Tahini
Roasted Sweet Potato Cauliflower Salad
Curry Tahini Roasted Cauliflower
Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Couscous
Roasted Cauliflower Spinach Pesto Pasta
Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Salad
- For cauliflower and onions
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- For lentils
- 1 cup black lentils
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- For salad
- 1 cup pitted green olives (I like Castelvetrano olives)
- 1/4 cup chopped raw pistachios
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- For vinaigrette
- 1 garlic clove minced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the leaves off the cauliflower and trim the rough end off the stem. Cut the cauliflower into 1/2-inch thick slices.
- Toss the cauliflower and onions with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and spread over a sheet pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Then flip the cauliflower to the other side to continue roasting until browned, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to a cutting board to roughly chop.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, place the lentils and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer with the lid partially on the saucepan. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are just tender. Taste them to check their doneness after 15 minutes. Once the lentils are ready, pour them into a strainer and rinse with cold water. Transfer the lentils to a large bowl.
- Stir the cauliflower, onions, olives, pistachios and parsley into the lentils.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Pour the vinaigrette into the salad and stir to combine.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.