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A large white bowl with roasted cauliflower and brown lentils garnished with parsley and a serving spoon.

Warm Lentil Salad with Cauliflower

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  • Author: Emily Toshiko
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegan


Warm lentil salad with cauliflower is a delicious lightly spiced salad with warming, Mediterranean inspired flavors. The caramelized onions add buttery depths of flavor while the roasted cauliflower adds a slightly smokiness. It all gets tossed together in a zesty lemon dressing lightly flavored with cumin.   


Units Scale
  • 3 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

For the Dressing:

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees to prepare for roasting the cauliflower.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan over medium-low heat. When the pan is hot, add in the sliced onions and stir every few minutes so they do not burn. Sauté the onions for 30-40 minutes until they are caramelized. They should turn brown in color and look soft and buttery in texture. Set aside.
  3. Add the cauliflower, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic powder, smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a mixing bowl. Mix well.
  4. Roast the cauliflower in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. 
  5. Cook the lentils according to the package directions. 
  6. Mix the dressing together. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, black pepper and parsley to a small bowl. Whisk until combined. 
  7. Add the caramelized onions, roasted cauliflower, cooked lentils and dressing to a large mixing bowl.
  8. Gently mix together until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Garnish with fresh parsley and a lemon wedge. 


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.

Make sure to prepare the rest of the ingredients while the onions caramelize since that is what takes the most time. 

Cut the cauliflower into small, bite-sized pieces so it mixes in more evenly with the rest of the salad ingredients. 

Feel free to use canned lentils in place. 2 (15) ounce cans should work. 


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup