So far this year, cauliflower has been my favorite vegetable. I know I am a little late. In the last couple of years, I watched fellow food bloggers come up with several creative recipes using it. Some even wrote books full of recipes only made with cauliflower. To be honest, I haven’t been a huge fan of cauliflower until this year. And I have absolutely no idea why. But after I made the cauliflower steak sandwich I posted a couple of weeks ago, I came to the conclusion that I have to play (aka cook) with it a little more. Luckily, cauliflower is one of those vegetables you can almost always find in our supermarkets on the island.
First off it is so versatile. You can flavor it with almost anything. Second, you can pretty much use any cooking method you like. Roast it, boil it, steam it, whatever you do, you can create a simple and delicious recipe out of it.
To make this salad, I first flavored the cauliflower florets with a dressing I made with cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and cayenne pepper. Once they were all coated with the dressing, I laid them on a baking sheet and roasted them for 25 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, I made a simple sweet tahini dressing with tahini, honey, and lemon. To incorporate some protein into my salad, I added some cooked lentils that I always keep in my fridge. Once cauliflower florets were ready, I mixed them with lentils, dates, toasted sliced almonds, red onions, and some mixed greens. After being drizzled with the sweet tahini dressing, it ended up being a warm, sweet and sour salad that I know I‘ll be making many times in the years to come.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lentils, Dates, and Tahini Sauce
- For the salad:
- 1 cup uncooked green lentils, picked over and washed
- 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 (optional)
- 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 10-12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 small red onion, sliced thinly into half moon slices
- 2-3 cups of mixed greens or chopped green lettuce, rinsed
- For the tahini dressing:
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- juice of a lemon, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons of water thin (or more based on the consistency you prefer)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper in a baking sheet.
- 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. Drain and discard the water. Set lentils aside to cool.
- Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and spices. Pour over the florets. Give it a large stir (preferably using your hands) 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. Take them out of the oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Spread the sliced almonds on the same 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.
- Serve immediately.
This recipe is adapted (with minor changes) from one of my favorite food blogs, Green Kitchen Stories. David & Luise even made a how-to video. If you are planning to make it, I highly recommend watching it.
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