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Warm Cauliflower, Lentil and Quinoa Salad

This is how to turn leftover quinoa and a head of cauliflower into a symphony. Purple cauliflower turns bright pink in spots when you squeeze lemon juice onto it. The salad will taste just as good with regular cauliflower, but that trick alone is worth the price of admission -- so if you can find the purple stuff, go for it.


  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup dry french lentils
  • 1 cup good vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • A few good grinds black pepper
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese for serving, optional


  • Steam the cauliflower until crisp-tender and place in a large bowl.
  • In a small pot, combine lentils, stock, herbes de Provence and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until liquid is almost absorbed and lentils are barely tender, about 20 minutes. Let rest, covered, for 10 minutes more.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion along with a generous sprinkle of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned in spots. Add garlic and capers and cook until very fragrant. Stir in cooked quinoa and heat through.
  • Tip lentils and onion mixture into the bowl with the cauliflower. Sprinkle with the lemon juice, walnuts and pepper and toss gently to combine. Serve warm, with Pecorino to pass if desired.
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    Recipe Notes

  • If you don't have cooked quinoa on hand, combine 1/3 cup raw quinoa (rinsed well) with 2/3 cup good vegetable stock and a generous pinch of salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes more before proceeding with recipe.
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