French Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Herbs

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French Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Herbs As I’ve started to limit the amount of animal fats in my diet, lentils have become a more significant staple in my kitchen. They’re versatile and filling and make a great base for building flavors. Lentilles du Puy are a green variety from the Auvergne region of France. They are a bit more expensive than other lentils, but they’re worth it because they have a little less starch than the standard variety so they hold their texture and don’t turn mushy. If you’re sensitive to nightshades, leave out the tomatoes.
  • tick Easy Entertaining
  • tick Make Ahead
  • tick Vegetarian
  • tick Side Dish
  • tick Salad
  • tick Gluten Free
  • tick Dairy Free

Ingredients

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  • 2 cups [670g] cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 qt [960ml] water or vegetable broth
  • French Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup [60g] thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup [100g] quartered cherry tomatoes (optional if nightshade-sensitive)
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • freshly ground pepper
  • For the French Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup [60ml] tbsp sherry vinegar
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup [120ml] extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

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Preheat the oven to 450°F [230°C]. Use the convection setting if available.

Place the caulifower in a large bowl. Coat with the olive oil and season with a generous pinch of salt and the fennel seeds (if using). Stir in the lemon juice. Spread the caulifower evenly on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir, then roast until the caulifower has caramelized and is just cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.

Spread the lentils on a separate baking sheet and remove any small stones or misshapen pieces. Transfer the lentils to a strainer and rinse. Place the lentils in a pot along with the water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer partially covered until the lentils are just cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. They should be tender but have the slightest bite. Drain the excess water.

Place the warm lentils in a large bowl and toss with half of the vinaigrette. Add the caulifower, carrot, onion, tomatoes (if using), dried cherries, and herbs. Gently stir to combine, adding more vinaigrette if needed. Season with salt and pepper.

The salad can be held in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.

For the French Vinaigrette:
Place the Dijon mustard and shallot in a small bowl. Whisk in the vinegar. Add a generous pinch of salt and a fresh grinding of pepper. Allow the shallots to sit in the vinegar for about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to create an emulsified vinaigrette. Taste (I like to dip a piece of lettuce into the vinaigrette to taste), adding more salt and pepper if desired.

Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Whisk again just before serving to re-emulsify.

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