Roasted Cauliflower and Black Lentil SaladCourse: SaladsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
We eat a lot of roasted cauliflower in my house because it’s on the short list of vegetables my four year old devours. I tend to make large batches of it because I think the leftovers taste wonderful the next day, cold (directly out of the tupperware, standing with the fridge wide open, naturally).
One day, instead of cramming all the cauliflower into my mouth while contemplating what to eat next, I turned it into a post workout salad with some lentils and goat cheese. It was magnificent. The next day I roasted some more cauliflower to recreate the salad and I was doubly pleased. It was a home run.
A few notes: For salads, I think black lentils are way tastier than green or red lentils. They are smaller and hold their shape better while cooking which makes them ideal for salads. Also, please notice that I use both the celery stalk and leaves in this salad. Celery leaves are like free herbs so please do not throw them away! They have concentrated celery flavor and a grassy finish that I find so appetizing.
And yes, the recipe calls for cooking the cauliflower at 500 degrees! I find that high heat works best for cooking cauliflower so that you get crispy edges without a soggy interior. I first discovered this method when developing my Cauliflower Steak Piccata recipe, and to my delight it also works for cauliflower pieces.
1 medium head cauliflower
3-4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tsp seasoned salt
2 ribs celery (with leaves attached)
1/2 cup dried black lentils
2-3 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 head of radicchio
1/4 cup goat cheese
- Dressing Ingredients
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Place a sheet pan on middle rack in oven and preheat to 500 degrees (F). To toast pine nuts, add them to a small skillet over MEDIUM heat, gently shaking the pan frequently to ensure that pine nuts toast instead of burn. This takes about 8 minutes (likely less time on a gas range). Once pine nuts are golden brown, remove them from skillet and allow them to cool in a heat safe dish (otherwise they will keep toasting in the hot skillet).
- Bring 2 quarts of water and 2 tbsp Kosher salt to a boil. Add lentils and cook until just softened, about 18 minutes. Drain lentils, rinse and set aside.
- Slice base off of cauliflower and cut into one inch florets. Rub olive oil into florets and sprinkle with seasoned salt and Parmesan.
- Once oven is preheated, carefully remove pan and place cauliflower onto pan. Place pan back into oven. You will cook cauliflower for 12-16 minutes total, flipping once. VERY IMPORTANT STEP: 4 minutes into cook time on each side, carefully crack open oven door just long enough to release any steam that has built up in oven. This ensures that cauliflower cooks primarily via searing instead of steaming. The size of your florets determine the cooking time. Smaller florets will take about 12 minutes and larger florets will take about 16 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Prepare dressing by whisking together honey, Dijon, and balsamic vinegar. While whisking drizzle in olive oil. Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper.
- Slice radicchio and add to a large bowl. Finely dice celery ribs and add to bowl. Coarsely chop celery leaves and add to bowl. Add cauliflower, goat cheese, and lentils to bowl. Toss gently. Add 3-4 tbsp of dressing to salad and toss gently.
- Divide salad between two plates and garnish with toasted pine nuts.