A simple but interesting (and delicious) salad that uses a range of fresh vegetables, there are a lot of ingredients here, but none are hard to come by. Feel free to substitute ingredients you think will go nicely. This makes an impressive side dish for a dinner spread, or works as a stand-alone vegetarian/vegan meal. If serving as a main, I would double the lentils to make it more substantial.
2 as a main (or 4 as a side)
small cauliflower, about 2 cups chopped
coconut oil, melted
black lentils (2/3 cup)
cavolo nero (lacinato kale), washed and torn by hand or cut into ribbons (about 2 cups)
small apple, or 1/2 of a larger one
mint (3/4 ounce, or roughly 3/4 cup, loosely packed)
Preheat your oven to 200° C (400° F) and cut the cauliflower into florets, peeling and slicing the stems as well. Place on a roasting tray and coat with the melted coconut oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until nicely browned.
While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Boil the lentils with the bay leaves in plenty of water. [Editor's note: Make sure they are covered by 2 inches of water.] Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender but still have a bite. Drain, remove bay leaves, dress with a little olive oil, and set aside.
While the lentils are cooking, cut or tear the kale into bite-size pieces. I find with very fresh, young cavolo nero that the leaves and stems are quite tender, so use the stems if you'd like.
Massage the kale with a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon. Thinly slice the kohlrabi. If you have a mandolin, use this to make nice thin slices. Do the same with your apple and dress both with lemon juice. Add to the kale along with the lentils, cauliflower, and remaining ingredients and taste for seasoning.
To make the green sauce, simply blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Taste for seasoning.
Serve the salad with the herb sauce drizzled over or coat the plate with a spoonful for a pretty finish. [Editor's note: We used the green sauce as a thick dressing, spooning it over the salad and tossing it until thoroughly mixed. We then finished the salad with another squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of oil, and some more salt and pepper.]
Some useful tips: 1) When making a salad like this, I find it helps to season and dress all the ingredients separately. This will ensure they are all balanced and seasoned just right. 2) If the kale is a little older or tougher, the earlier you massage in the dressing, the more tender the kale will become. This is a good leaf to take for lunch, as it doesn’t become soggy over the day like other salads would. 3) Adding lemon to the apple straight away is important to stop it from oxidizing and turning brown.