Make Ahead

Lemony Lentil Salad

June 19, 2011
8 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This salad is great for clearing out your pantry and can easily be taken outside. It goes with everything (great as a bed for grilled fish or chicken) and if you have them, glossy black Beluga lentils would be wonderful here. - cookingafterfive —nicolecooks

Test Kitchen Notes

Just when you thought that nothing could beat roasted cauliflowers, comes this "sunshiney" picnic salad from cookingafterfive. What do I rave about?
A. The crunchy earthy roasted florets.
B. The elegant sweet/sour citrusy dressing.
C. The extremely satisfying mouthfeel of the lentils and cous cous.
D. The bold morsels of feta & specks of parsley
My pick: E. All of the above.
I halved the recipe for practical purposes and fully intended to sit and enjoy it out on the lawn for lunch. It unfortunately barely made it out of the kitchen.
Note: The ingredients calls for 1 large garlic clove minced, but there are no instructions for its use in the method. Rather than second guess where it should be used, I chose to omit it all together.
- Panfusine —Panfusine

What You'll Need
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 cup couscous
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • honey
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (for dressing), plus some to toss with the cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • feta cheese, for sprinkling
  1. Toss cauliflower with some extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and caramelized.
  2. While the cauliflower roasts, make the lentils. Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add lentils. Boil until cooked through, about 30 minutes. (Check the package instructions and test as you go; cooking times will vary.) Drain any remaining water and place in a large bowl.
  3. In the same pot, bring couscous and 1 cup water to a boil. Immediately remove from heat, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add to bowl, along with the cauliflower and parsley.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and a drizzle of honey. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified. Taste for seasonings. Pour over the salad and toss to combine. Serve warm sprinkled with feta.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Young Mimi Lee
    Young Mimi Lee
  • Cinnamin
  • kimkej
  • bugbitten
  • Droplet

13 Reviews

Young M. September 3, 2022
Love this salad. However, it loses some of its flavour next day. So I add white wine vinegar and more olive oil.
Josie M. May 1, 2014
Excellent. I used quinoa instead of couscous and added capers. Yum!
rosie F. March 15, 2014
Really nice! Added some chopped and toasted almonds and a little lemon zest to lift it a bit.
biennourri September 18, 2012
This was great. I love the texture of the couscous and the cauliflower together. My kids (2 and 5) really liked it too!
Cinnamin September 13, 2012
I'm south Indian and make a lot of lentil salads at home...they're so light and refreshing for summer! We usually make a tempered version, but the couscous, feta and cauliflower in this one really make it a complete meal by itself! Great recipe
RoastedBeet September 8, 2012
So delicious! I've now made it twice, serving it both times with fish -- pan-fried flounder and grilled salmon. Then I scarfed up the leftovers for lunch.
elizabethames August 2, 2012
Thanks for this recipe, nicolecooks! I made it this morning, and already I suspect it will be in heavy rotation this summer (if I can wake up early enough to bear such a hot oven on these humid days). I used toasted Israeli couscous--such a nice texture with lentils.
Alamobecky April 3, 2012
I found it much easier and faster to pan roast the cauliflower on the stove. I added broccoli as well. I enjoyed this dish but will be experimenting with some "stronger" dressings. The acid to oil balance was too weak and I ended up adding red wine vinegar to get more of a punch. I also added some pistachio nuts for crunch. This is a good base recipe from which to start and just add whatever appeals at the moment ... cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, etc.
kimkej January 2, 2012
We just tried this salad. It was divine. Will definitely make again!!
bugbitten September 16, 2011
Thank you, I'll try this for friends next week. I can only think that the minced garlic goes raw into the lemon dressing, so I'll do that. This recipe reminds me of many the Indian curry with cauliflower, potatoes and chickpeas, which is always a huge hit. I've been known to get out the blowtorch to make sure the cauliflower gets the proper singe, but 425 should do it.
jessicad July 12, 2011
Delicious! Next time I will halve the amount of couscous and lentils, though, as my cauliflower shrunk down so much when roasted. I also added some chopped dry roasted almonds for texture.
Droplet June 20, 2011
I love lentils and lemon together. This sounds good.
Droplet June 20, 2011
A little bit of lemon zest might be nice in there too.