FRENCH LENTIL SALAD with Roasted Cauliflower and Herbs
- 2 cups [670 g] cauliflower florets
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp lemon juice or to taste
- 1 1⁄2 cups [300 g] French green lentils
- 1 qt [960 ml] water or vegetable broth
- French Vinaigrette
- 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
- 1⁄2 cup [60 g] thinly sliced red onion
- 1⁄2 cup [100 g] quartered cherry tomatoes (optional if nightshade-sensitive)
- 1⁄2 cup [90 g] dried cherries
- 2 Tbsp chopped mint
- 1 Tbsp chopped chives
- 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°F [230°C]. Use the convection setting if available.
Place the cauliflower in a large bowl. Coat with the olive oil and season with a generous pinch of salt and the fennel seeds (if using). Stir in the lemon juice. Spread the cauliflower evenly on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir, then roast until the cauliflower has caramelized and is just cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.
Spread the lentils on a separate baking sheet and remove any small stones or misshapen pieces. Transfer the lentils to a strainer and rinse. Place the lentils in a pot along with the water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer partially covered until the lentils are just cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. They should be tender but have the slightest bite. Drain the excess water.
Place the warm lentils in a large bowl and toss with half of the vinaigrette. Add the cauliflower, carrot, onion, tomatoes (if using), dried cherries, and herbs. Gently stir to combine, adding more vinaigrette if needed. Season with salt and pepper.
The salad can be held in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.
I studied French in Aix-en-Provence for a blissful semester twenty years ago. Every time I had a great salad when I was there, I’d ask what was in the vinaigrette. Nine times out of ten, I got the same response—it was this recipe. You can substitute organic canola, walnut, or even grapeseed oil for the extra-virgin olive oil and practically any vinegar for the sherry vinegar, but for the combination that pairs with the most salads, this one is still my go-to.
PREPARATION TIME 10 minutes
MAKES 3⁄4 cup / 180 ml
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp minced shallot
- 1⁄4 cup [60 ml] sherry vinegar Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup [120 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
Place the Dijon mustard and shallot in a small bowl. Whisk in the vinegar. Add a generous pinch of salt and a fresh grinding of pepper. Allow the shallots to sit in the vinegar for about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to create an emulsified vinaigrette. Taste (I like to dip a piece of lettuce into the vinaigrette to taste), adding more salt and pepper if desired.
Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Whisk again just before serving to re-emulsify.
Reprinted from The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: The Delicious Way to Reduce Inflammation and Stay Healthy by Amanda Haas with permission from Chronicle Books, 2016. Photographs © Erin Kunkel.