Make Ahead

Curried Cauliflower, Red Lentil and Couscous Salad

October  1, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

The kernel for this recipe came from a recipe in Bon Appetit's Fast, Easy, Fresh column a while back. That recipe was for kohlrabi with red lentils and sounded so interesting. Well, there were so many disconnects for my family - not the least of which was that the kohlrabi was not a big hit around here - that I'm not really sure why I didn't just chuck the recipe. I loved the idea of a curry vinaigrette so I just kept tinkering until I came up with a version of this salad that we like. Serve alongside sauteed greens for a vegetarian meal or with some protein - shrimp is particularly delicious with this salad. Maybe pan sauteed with a little garlic, ginger and curry. - healthierkitchen —healthierkitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a wonderful dish! The tender roasted cauliflower florets are speckled with crisp roasted cumin and coriander seeds which present blurts of flavor. The cauliflower goes well with the red lentil and couscous mixture (I placed it on top rather than mixing in). I loved the fried shallots (I made my own), and chopped cashews as a crunchy garnish. But best of all is the divine vinaigrette. I almost swooned with pleasure when I tasted it and I know I will make it again and again. I could just eat it with a spoon it’s that good! I think this dish would be great served warm on some wilted or sautéed greens or cold with a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt. Healthierkitchen has created a great, unique recipe. - JoanG —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Salad
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1/4 cup plus one tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup crispy fried shallots ( I purchased these from World Spice but you can easily make them by placing thinly sliced shallots in a pan lightly coated with hot canola oil and letting them get just a little brown)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, roasted cashews
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt to taste
  • Curry Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • pinch salt
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Core the head of cauliflower and separate into small florets. Cut larger pieces in half so that most pieces are uniform in size. I am unenvironmental and put the florets into a large ziploc with the olive oil and make sure the pieces are coated. You could easily use a bowl instead. Then, being unenvironmental, I line my half sheet pan with foil (which you could also skip) and spread a very light coating of oil on the pan or spray some vegetable spray on the pan. Spread cauliflower florets onto pan and sprinkle cumin and coriander seed over top. Roast for about 25 minutes, checking and mixing the bits about often. If the cauliflower seems to be cooking too fast, lower oven to 400.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, curry powder, salt, garlic and ginger. Add the olive oil while continuing to whisk, until dressing is emulsified. Set aside.
  4. While cauliflower is cooking, bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and then add the lentils. Cook for about 5 minutes until soft but not mushy. Rinse and drain the lentils and put the lentils into a large serving bowl. Add the vinaigrette reserving a few tablespoons to add to the couscous.
  5. In the now empty saucepan, boil 1 cup water and add the couscous. Take off the heat, add a few tablespoons of the vinagraitte, cover and let steam for 5 - 10 minutes.
  6. When the cauliflower is fully roasted (brown but not burned) add to the lentils. When the couscous has finished steaming, add that as well. Add the 1/4 cup chives and mix well. Sprinkle the lemon juice over and mix again. Taste for salt and add if needed.
  7. Garnish with the fried shallots, cashews and remaining chives.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • JoanG
  • aliyaleekong
  • healthierkitchen
  • cheese1227
  • gingerroot

12 Reviews

JoanG October 18, 2010
Do you use whole cumin and coriander seeds or ground? Thanks!
healthierkitchen October 18, 2010
I use whole, but if you don't have them I'd just do a light dusting of a few pinches of the powder.
JoanG October 18, 2010
I've got them, will try it this way. Thanks!
healthierkitchen October 21, 2010
Wow! Thanks so much for testing this and for the lovely write up. So glad you liked the dish. I could put fried shallots on almost anything, I like them so much.
JoanG October 14, 2010
Curried Cauliflower, Red Lentil and Couscous Salad please!!
aliyaleekong October 4, 2010
What a delicious recipe! I'm dying to try this with the crispy shallots and cashews...
healthierkitchen October 4, 2010
Thank you aliyaleekong! I love the crispy shallots too - have made them in the past, but when making a large order from World Spice Market I bought a little bag.
healthierkitchen October 4, 2010
Thanks cheese1227! Give it a try - it's a little different and definitely much lighter than coconut milk for day to day meals.
cheese1227 October 3, 2010
Looks awesome. I love curry and cauliflower and making it a vinaigrette is so much more healthy than immersing it in coconut milk!
healthierkitchen October 1, 2010
thanks gingerroot! I bet quinoa would be delicious.
gingerroot October 1, 2010
This sounds amazing. I love the contrast in flavors and textures you have here - especially roasted cauliflower-curry-cashew. YUM! My husband is gluten intolerant but I bet quinoa could stand in for the couscous...
healthierkitchen January 29, 2011
I keep meaning to try this with quinoa!