Sunday, February 21, 2016

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing

This is a salad that I actually made a few months ago and am now getting around to posting about. Just because it took me a little while to post it though does not mean that it wasn't a fantastic salad. I had been looking for a hearty winter salad to bring to a family gathering. I wanted something seasonal but not the typical cranberry walnut apple salad or Brussel sprout and butternut squash salad. These are all absolutely delicious, but I was in the mood for something a little different. 

The recipe caught my eye because it used cauliflower, which I love, that is roasted with some of my favorite spices and topped with a creamy and lemony tahini dressing that is simply scrumptious. A few lentils are thrown in to add heartiness, some dried fruit, toasted nuts, and red onion finish the whole thing off. It came together beautifully, the perfect combination of flavors and textures, a perfect winter salad. 

Since I was serving this salad to a group of people that have some food intolerances, including dairy, I didn't worry about adding any cheese, but I have no doubt that a little crumbled feta would really be amazing in this recipe. This recipe was made as a side dish, but it also makes a great complete meal. With the lentils for protein mixed with the vegetables, fruit and nuts and a nice tahini dressing it really has everything you need. 

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing
Adapted from Foolproof Living
For the salad:
  • 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 10-12 Medjool or 8-10 prunes, sliced thin
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly into half moon slices
  • 2-3 cups of mixed greens or chopped green lettuce, rinsed
  • Flat leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish, optional
For the tahini dressing:
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • juice of a lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 2-4 tablespoons of water thin (or more based on the consistency you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon zat'ar seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and spices. Pour over the florets. Give it a large stir making sure that most of the florets are covered with the mixture. Distribute them evenly on the baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Place lentils in a small pot and cover it with 2 cups of water. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes until tender. Drain and discard the water. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Spread the sliced almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes in the oven, gently tossing them hallway through. Keep an eye on them as they can burn easily. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on the kitchen counter.

In the mean time, make the tahini dressing by whisking all the tahini dressing ingredients in a bowl. To assemble: Place the greens in a large salad bowl. Add in the roasted cauliflower, lentils, almonds, dates, and red onion slices. Drizzle it with the tahini dressing. Gently toss it while making sure that the dressing is distributed evenly within the salad.

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