Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Salad

This roasted cauliflower and lentil salad with tahini dressing is nutritious, filling, and works great as a light lunch or dinner. It’s also vegan and gluten-free.

This cauliflower salad has the power to win over cauliflower haters. I know that’s a bold statement, but seriously — it’s sooo good.

Plate with roasted cauliflower lentil salad and a fork.

The inspiration for this salad came from Food & Wine. My version includes a few EBF tweaks — less oil, no almonds, maple syrup instead of honey (to make it vegan), and a slight change in the spices.

The salad turned out to be delicious!

It’s nutritious, filling and works great as a light lunch or dinner. I could also see it being an awesome dish to bring to a potluck. It’s one of those salads that everyone will love… and I bet at least one person will ask you for the recipe.

Roasted cauliflower on a sheet pan.

Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Salad Ingredients

  • black lentils – also known as belgua lentils, they have a nice, firm texture making them great for salads
  • cauliflower
  • red onion
  • spinach
  • dates – I recommend using medjool dates. They’re usually larger, softer and have the best flavor
  • tahini
  • fresh lemon juice
  • maple syrup
  • seasonings and spices – olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Substitutions & Notes

Lentils – I chose black lentils for this salad. You could try green/brown lentils, but black lentils are firmer and tend to work best for salads like this. I wouldn’t use red lentils because they’re too mushy. 

Vegetables – I love the combination of cauliflower, onion and spinach, but if you want to use a different green or add in an extra vegetable,  I say go for it!

Pot with cooked lentils.

How to Make Cauliflower Lentil Salad

Cook your lentils – In a saucepan, combine the black lentils with water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and set aside to let cool.

Roast cauliflower – Place the cauliflower, oil and spices into a large bowl and toss. Spread mixture on a large baking sheet or stone and roast for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is brown and tender. Toss cauliflower at least once during the roasting process.

Make dressing – In a bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth.

Assemble salad – Add the lentils to the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Add the roasted cauliflower, dates, red onion and spinach, toss again and enjoy!

Close up of a salad made with spinach, onions, dates, cauliflower and lentils.

How Long Will it Last?

I prefer this salad fresh just because I like the contradiction of hot and cold ingredients, but you can definitely store leftovers to enjoy again! It will last 3-5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Plate with roasted cauliflower lentil salad and a fork.

More Cauliflower Recipes to Try:

If you make this roasted cauliflower and lentil salad, please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other readers who are thinking about making the recipe. 

Print
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Plate with roasted cauliflower lentil salad and a fork.

Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Salad


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This roasted cauliflower and lentil salad with tahini dressing is nutritious, filling, and works great as a light lunch or dinner. Vegan and gluten-free.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry black (belgua) lentils, rinsed
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into 12 inch florets
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of cayenne
  • sea salt & ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • juice from 2 lemons (about 34 Tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 10 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 4 cups loosely packed spinach

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the lentils with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and let cool.
  3. Place cauliflower, oil and spices (cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper) into a large bowl and toss. Spread mixture on a large baking sheet or stone and roast for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower has browned and become tender. Be sure to toss the cauliflower at least once while roasting.
  4. In a bowl, whisk the tahini with the lemon juice, maple syrup, and 2 Tablespoons of water until smooth. Add the lentils and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Add roasted cauliflower into the bowl. Then add your dates, red onion and spinach. Toss the salad a bit, plate and serve.
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 388
  • Sugar: 45g
  • Sodium: 188mg
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 59g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: roasted cauliflower salad

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

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Recipe rating

    30 comments
    1. Betsy Fawcett
      January 30, 2021 AT 10:51 am

      I was VERY skeptical, but I love roasted cauliflower, so I went for it. I was blown away. SUCH an excellent and delicious recipe. I changed the sauce around a bit as I was making it…add something-taste, add something else taste again. Until it was perfect.

      I’ve been eating leftovers for 2 day sand I am still excited to eat it. Just heat up the topping part and throw it on top of cold spinach. Perfect.

      Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 1, 2021 AT 1:07 am

        So glad you loved this salad, Betsy. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

    2. Gabi
      January 21, 2021 AT 11:00 am

      Very good! Lots of flavors with all that lemon juice and those spices! Yum! It makes a nice change from the salads I have been eating lately.

      Perfect as it is as a side dish, but I am thinking: Butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, avocado, feta cheese, pecans or sunflower seeds to add in and make it into a main dish. Actually, it feels like absolutely everything would taste great once coated with that dressing! Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 21, 2021 AT 6:36 pm

        Woo! This makes me so happy to hear, Gabi! I bet those additions would be delicious!! You’ll have to keep me posted if you try it. I really appreciate you coming back to leave a comment and star rating as well!

    3. CounselorChick
      January 19, 2021 AT 11:31 pm

      So delicious! I do have a quick question. Is the final amount of lentils supposed to be one cup cooked? As you know, 1 cup dried lentils cooks out to far more than one cup of lentils? Felt like a lot of lentils in this. TIA

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 20, 2021 AT 12:00 pm

        The recipe does call for 1 cup of dry lentils. You can always use less lentils if you make it again if you prefer. Maybe use just 1/2 cup dry lentils? I’m glad you enjoyed this salad though and thanks for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

        1. CounselorChick
          January 20, 2021 AT 2:51 pm

          Yes it just feels like the tahini dressing gets lost in too many lentils. Next time I’ll use 1cup cooked with the yummy dressing. Thx!

    4. Albertina
      January 19, 2021 AT 6:44 am

      Made this tonight and it was so delicious! Love the taste of roasted cauliflower. Next time I will try to make it in more quantity. Thanks, Brittany!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 20, 2021 AT 12:14 pm

        Woo!! So glad you loved this recipe. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

    5. Eileen
      May 5, 2014 AT 2:24 am

      I made this for dinner tonight and was so good! I’m usually not a big fan of cauliflower, but roasting it and browning it took the flavor to another level. I really enjoyed this dish.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 5, 2014 AT 10:41 am

        Yay! I’m so happy that you liked it, Eileen. Thanks for coming back to comment and let me know. 🙂

    6. Kira – The Healthable Old Soul
      April 5, 2014 AT 11:54 pm

      I agree – the BEST!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 6, 2014 AT 5:38 pm

        Thank you! 🙂

    7. Alexis @ Hummusapien
      April 1, 2014 AT 12:26 pm

      Soooo much goodness in one salad! I believe I have a bag of black lentils hanging out in the pantry. Can’t wait to try!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 1, 2014 AT 2:44 pm

        Yay! Let me know what you think if you do try it. Thank you for the tweet as well. 🙂

    8. Ellen
      April 1, 2014 AT 8:43 am

      This looks amazing! I love the addition of Dates as well. I conveniently have them on hand this week 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    9. meg @ adashofmeg
      March 31, 2014 AT 6:46 pm

      great looking recipe babe!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 1, 2014 AT 9:36 am

        Thanks lady! xoxo

    10. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun
      March 31, 2014 AT 4:57 pm

      This salad looks delicious! I have to admit I don’t eat cauliflower very often because my husband isn’t a fan but I need to find a new way of cooking it to see if I can get him to eat it. Maybe this will work!?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 1, 2014 AT 9:37 am

        I think you should try this salad on him. 🙂

    11. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
      March 31, 2014 AT 4:00 pm

      Ok I HAVE to admit that I always though that cauliflower was kind of a boring food but I’ve tried two of your cauliflower recipes and loved BOTH so you better believe I’ll be trying this one 😉

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 31, 2014 AT 4:02 pm

        Woo-hoo! Can’t wait to hear what you think of this one!!

    12. I LOVE roasted cauliflower!!! Especially with harissa paste, definitely one for you to try! This salad looks yum! Well done on the race!!! Didn’t know you were back in to running. How did you do time wise? I’m considering getting back in to it now that the sun is starting to show it’s face here too!

    13. Maria Tadic
      March 31, 2014 AT 3:12 pm

      OMG…i ran the monument 10k too! My brother lives right on monument and throws a big party for it! How crappy was it that it rained the whoooole time! I was soaked!

      The salad looks amazing – I love roasted cauliflower!! Delicious!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 1, 2014 AT 10:08 am

        Oh, fun!! I love all the big parties that people throw the day of the race.

        I was soaked too but at least it was kind of warm and not freezing. I’d rather be wet than cold. 🙂

    14. emma @ be mom strong
      March 31, 2014 AT 2:06 pm

      TidalWheel the night before a race? You are good! I think my toes are still a little soggy!
      Slowly starting to appreciate cauliflower after making some muffins using them… and a LOT of cheese!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 31, 2014 AT 4:03 pm

        I know! It probably wasn’t the best idea because my legs were sore. haha

    15. meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
      March 31, 2014 AT 1:38 pm

      Love roasted cauliflower and lentils – this looks delicious.

    16. Reynaul
      March 31, 2014 AT 12:06 pm

      Yummy looking recipe! I ran the 10K this past weekend too, so congrats! I’m just glad it was not raining and cold! 🙂

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 31, 2014 AT 4:07 pm

        Totally agree. I hate cold rain!

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