Cauliflower lentil salad is an easy and delicious Mediterranean-inspired recipe packed with bold flavors and wholesome ingredients.
We make it with roasted cauliflower, lentils, parsley, and an aromatic cumin and lemon dressing.
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Look no further if you are looking for a different yet easy and delicious salad recipe with wholesome and nutritious ingredients.
Smokey oven-roasted cauliflower meets earthy lentils, fresh parsley, and an aromatic and zesty cumin dressing in one of our favorite Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
The recipe is easy, we use very simple ingredients, and you can make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for several days.
To make it, we first roast cauliflower florets in the oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We then mix it with a can of lentils and toss it with our favorite cumin and lemon dressing.
Add a sprinkle of parsley and a handful of the nuts, and enjoy this delicious cauliflower recipe as a starter, for lunch, or as a side dish for dinner.
Since it keeps well, you can bring it to potlucks and picnics.
P.s. This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free.
Take a big cauliflower head, separate it into smaller florets and roast it in the oven or the air fryer with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Roasted cauliflower is tasty, smokey, meaty, and just delicious! We recommend using fresh cauliflower for this recipe, as frozen cauliflower tends to be soft and soggy and is not the best in salads.
You can use canned lentils (like we do) or cook the lentils yourself. Go for brown, green, or french lentils, as they keep their shape better when you toss them with the other ingredients. We don't recommend red lentils as they lose their shape and become mushy.
Lentils taste great with cauliflower, and we think they are a perfect flavor match. However, you can substitute chickpeas or white beans for lentils.
Cauliflower and nuts go very well together, and we recommend adding toasted almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pine nuts.
If your nuts are not toasted already, you have to toast them on a pan for a few minutes, moving them around often, or bake in the oven at 340°F or 170°C for 6 to 8 minutes.
Flat-leaf parsley is a staple in Mediterranean cooking and an important ingredient in this cauliflower lentil salad. We add most of the parsley to the dressing, however, remember to save some to sprinkle on top of the salad.
If you like, you can add other fresh herbs such as dill, chives, and even green onions (I know they are not an herb but here seemed a good place to mention them).
We make our cumin dressing with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, ground cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, flat-leaf parsley, salt, pepper, and minced garlic or garlic powder.
Step 1: Roast the cauliflower
Preheat the oven to 390°F or 200°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Wash the cauliflower head, separate the florets, dry them with a kitchen towel, and transfer them onto the baking tray.
Season with olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and toss them with your hands.
Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, turn the florets around, and roast for 10 more minutes until slightly charred and fork tender but not overcooked.
Step 2: Make the dressing
To a bowl, add the ingredients to make the dressing: olive oil, lemon juice, finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, ground cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
Whisk well until combined.
Tip: you can also add everything to a small mason jar and shake well.
Step 3: Build the salad
Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl: roasted cauliflower, drained and rinsed lentils, toasted and chopped nuts, and the cumin dressing.
Mix well until the ingredients are combined, taste and adjust for salt, then serve in the same bowl or on a serving platter with some more parsley sprinkled on top.
Eat this cauliflower lentil salad as a starter with the other Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern dishes. You can make a large appetizer platter with plenty of warm pita bread and:
- Baba ganoush or eggplant salad
- Creamy-dreamy chickpea hummus
- Zaalouk or Moroccan eggplant salad
- Delicious avocado spread
- Tomato bruschetta with basil and garlic
- Tabbouleh salad or Shirazi salad
- Moroccan carrot salad
- Greek Tzatziki sauce
Alternatively, you can have a larger portion of the salad for lunch. We love mixing in some pasta such as rotini or fusilli and turning it into a delicious cauliflower and lentil pasta salad.
You can make it ahead and bring it with you in an airtight container for a work lunch, picnic, or potluck.
We recommend eating this salad at room temperature.
Creamy cauliflower salad
A tasty, nutritious, and fulfilling roasted cauliflower salad that we prepared with chickpeas and tahini sauce.
Check out our creamy roasted cauliflower salad recipe.
Carrot Lentil Salad
Moroccan-inspired carrot lentil salad with a similar cumin dressing. Serve it as an appetizer or side dish; this recipe will impress with its simplicity and bold flavors.
Check out our Moroccan carrot salad recipe.
Sweet Potato Lentil Salad
Inspired by our carrot lentil salad, this sweet potato lentil salad recipe is a winner because it's loaded with nutritious and wholesome ingredients that will make you feel amazing and satiated for hours.
Check out our lentil sweet potato salad recipe.
Store cauliflower lentil salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The next day the flavor of the salad is even fuller and bolder.
After the second day, you might want to add more dressing as the salad will dry up a little.
We recommend taking the salad out of the refrigerator 15 to 30 minutes before eating it to boost the flavor of the ingredients.
We do not recommend freezing this recipe.
More Salad Recipes
If you love salads, you might also like some of our other delicious salad recipes:
- carrot salad with crunchy vegetables
- chickpea quinoa salad for a boost of plant-based energy to keep you satiated
- winter fennel and orange salad just like they do it in Sicily
- healthy and crispy tofu salad with endlessly creamy tahini dressing
- Green Bean Salad with mustard dressing and red onion
- Juicy tomato salad with heirloom tomatoes
- Roasted sweet potato salad with fresh vegetables and feta
- Incredible red cabbage slaw with walnuts for a must-eat winter salad
Cauliflower Lentil Salad
FOR ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
- 1 large cauliflower (about 2½ pounds or 1.2 kg)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 twists black pepper
FOR CUMIN DRESSING
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice or more to taste
- 2 cloves garlic minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin ground
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 twists black pepper
- ½ cup parsley finely chopped
- 1 can (15 oz) lentils
- ¼ cup toasted nuts almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or 2 tablespoon pine nuts
STEP 1: ROAST THE CAULIFLOWER
- Preheat the oven to 390°F or 200°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.Wash the cauliflower head, separate the florets, dry them with a kitchen towel, and transfer them onto the baking tray.Season with olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and toss them with your hands.
- Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, turn the florets around, and roast for 10 more minutes until slightly charred and fork tender but not overcooked.
STEP 2: MAKE THE DRESSING
- To a bowl, add the ingredients to make the dressing: olive oil, lemon juice, finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, ground cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.Tip: reserve a pinch of parsley to sprinkle of top later.
- Whisk well until combined.Tip: you can also add everything to a small mason jar and shake well.
STEP 3: BUILD THE SALAD
- Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl: roasted cauliflower, drained and rinsed lentils, toasted and chopped nuts, and the cumin dressing.
- Mix well until the ingredients are combined, taste and adjust for salt, then serve in the same bowl or on a serving platter with some more parsley sprinkled on top.