Caramelized Onions, Lentils and Cauliflower Salad

Caramelized Onions, Lentils and Cauliflower Salad

Caramelized onions, lentil and cauliflower salad is a healthy hearty side dish, packed full of flavors. The caramelized onions add a touch of sweetness to the slightly charred cauliflower and green lentils. The olive oil is necessary in this dish, as it creates a smooth and buttery texture. This dish is based off of the popular Lebanese dish, Mujadara! Mujadara is one of my favorite dishes to order at Mediterranean restaurants, so I knew I had to create an easy version to make at home!

caramelized onions, lentils and cauliflower salad
I find that parsley adds such a nice POP of color!

The caramelized onions are truly the magical ingredient that makes this dish so incredibly tasty! However, caramelizing onions certainly takes some patience! I recommend using a cast iron skillet or nonstick pan for this technique. The onions will release a small amount of liquid as they cook. They will then transform from a pungent vegetable to a sweet savory delight! Like I said before, the onions are what make this dish so special! It takes about 30 minutes for this transformation process. The onions require occasional stirring to prevent them from sticking to the pan. Look for a deep brown color in the onions that results from the caramelization. I like mine slightly crispy so I usually go longer than 30 minutes.

caramelized onions, lentils and cauliflower salad
Caramelized onions are the not so secret ingredient to making this so tasty!

To make caramelized onions, lentils and cauliflower salad:

Start with caramelizing the onions, as it usually takes about 30 minutes or so to get that nice sweet, brown look. During this period of time, roast the cauliflower and cook the lentils. Remember to stir the onions occasionally. After the onions have been caramelized, add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and toss to combine. Top with the remaining onions and parsley if using. Enjoy!

caramelized onions, lentils and cauliflower salad
I like to eat a big bowl of this for lunch!

Enjoy this caramelized onions, lentils and cauliflower salad with some vegan macaroni and cheese! You can also just eat a big bowl on its own! If you have more lentils than you know what to do with (like me), make sure to check out this cozy sweet potato lentil soup! Follow Toshi’s Table on Instagram and Pinterest for more recipe inspiration. Remember to rate this recipe below and let me know when you make it! Happy eating!

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caramelized onions, lentils and cauliflower salad

Caramelized Onions, Lentils and Cauliflower Salad

  • Author: Emily Toshiko
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x

Description

Caramelized onion, lentil and cauliflower salad is a healthy hearty side dish, packed full of flavors. The caramelized onions add a touch of sweetness to the slightly charred cauliflower and green lentils.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 c dried green lentils
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh parsley (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss together the cauliflower florets, 1 tbsp olive oil,  ¼ tsp salt and ½ tsp garlic powder. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. 
  2. Cook 1 cup of lentils in salted water according to package directions. 
  3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a nonstick pan or cast iron skillet. Add the sliced onions and ¼ tsp salt. Saute over medium-low heat for 30-35 minutes until caramelized. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Set aside ¼ cup of caramelized onions to use for the topping. 
  4. Turn down the heat to low and add the thyme, onion powder and freshly ground black pepper to the remaining onions. Stir for 30 seconds, then add in the cauliflower and lentils. Toss gently until combined and evenly heated through. 
  5. To serve: place the caramelized onion, lentil and cauliflower salad on a platter or in a large bowl. Top with the remaining  ¼ cup of caramelized onions, freshly ground black pepper and parsley if using. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Although this is more of a side dish, I often eat a giant bowl as the main part of my lunch!
  • This is a dish that tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to combine.
  • Caramelizing the onions is the key to the sweet, buttery flavors of this dish. Make sure to let them cook over medium-low heat until they reach a deep golden brown color.

Keywords: caramelized onions, lentils and cauliflower salad



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