Lentil Cauliflower Picnic Saladby matkonation | 25.10.12
by: Danya Weiner
Until a few weeks ago we were living in a steamer, it was so hot outside that my newborn baby and I could not leave the air conditioning until six in the evening. During the holidays (in September) the temperatures went down a little and we started to say that “fall” had arrived.
Our version of fall is still quite hot, about 30ºC/85ºF, but it was about time to start enjoying the outdoors a little. For the past three weeks we decided to pack up our family and spend the weekends in different places. First we set up a camping site around Jerusalem hills, the next week we drove up north to a wooden cabin with friends and last week we spent the weekend at one of my favorite places in Israel- “Chan Beerotaim”, a sort of Bedouin campgrounds, near the Egyptian border.
This weekend we made a conscious decision to stay at home and try and do nothing. The only thing we had planned was a short walk and picnic with my oldest sons’ kindergarten class. Each family was asked to bring something to the picnic and I offered my famous pasta salad (which I never posted, and should). While I was cooking the previous Friday night dinner, I felt the need to try something new and then suddenly I saw the large cauliflower in the fridge, winking at me. Without having a specific recipe in mind I decided to break the cauliflower into little florets and bake them with some Indian spices. While in the oven I continued with the Friday cooking. When I took the tray out of the oven and tasted the cauliflower I knew immediately that they it would go great with black lentils for a light picnic salad!
This salad is perfect for picnics because it just gets tastier with time. I made it on Friday evening for Saturday’s picnic and it was just perfect. The only thing was that I fixed was the seasoning a little and added the feta cheese just before leaving the house.
Black Lentil and Cauliflower Salad
Ingredients for 8 servings:
For the cauliflower:
2 medium sized cauliflowers, broken into florets
¾ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cilantro
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
For the lentils:
4 cups water
2 cups black lentils
For the salad:
½ cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 small red onion, halved and finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
For the topping:
- Prepare the cauliflower: preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the cauliflower and then spread evenly onto the baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is softened but still a bit crunchy.
- Prepare the lentils: In a large pot, bring the water to a boil, and then add the lentils. Cook for 20 minutes, until they are al-dente. Strain and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Prepare the salad: Place the cauliflower and lentils in a large bowl and mix until combined. Add the cilantro, and red onion and mix to combine. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, taste, and adjust seasoning accordingly.
- Top with crumbled feta cheese and serve.