When asked to bring a salad to a recent dinner party, I wanted to jazz things up a bit and really catch people’s tastebuds by surprise. While brainstorming in the kitchen I thought about how I love the warmth of curry combined with roasted vegetables. I brought the two together, along with some lentils to create a hearty protein and vitamin packed salad. While the lentils were cooking on the stovetop with some garlic, I tossed the cauliflower, red onions, and red peppers in the curry sauce and popped them in the oven for about 30 minutes. I am convinced that roasted vegetables are the way to go!
The end result was lovely caramelized veggies singing with the savoury, complex notes of the sweet curry powder with lentils as the backround structure. While everything was still warm I added in some swiss chard for added color and also a bit of chopped parsley. I refrigerated mine to intensify the flavors, but you could also serve this warm.
A few notes about why I love lentils: Unlike your traditional legumes, lentils are quick cooking and require no pre-soaking! They come in several varieties such as brown, french green, red, and yellow. Lentils are packed with 18 grams of protein and a 1/3 of your daily fiber intake per one cup serving. Additionally, they provide more folate (a very important B vitamin) than any other unfortified plant food. And if you are trying to watch your pocket book, these tasty beans only cost about $1-2 a pound on average. I recommend grabbing them at your local coop in the bulk bin where they will be the freshest and most cost effective.
1 medium head cauliflower cut into small pieces
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 c dry brown lentils
1 c water
5 swiss chard leaves (or kale), chopped
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
4 T olive oil
2 t curry powder
1 t salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T white wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. To prepare the dressing – combine the curry powder, salt, garlic, and vinegar in small bowl and then whisk in the olive oil. Spread the cauliflower, onion, and peppers, on a greased baking pan, then drizzle with 2 T of dressing and stir to lightly coat. Roast in oven for about 20-25 minutes, stirring once during cooking. While the veggies are roasting you can prepare the lentils. Rinse lentils and add to pot with 1 cup of water and 1 garlic clove. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15-20 minutes. This cooking time will get the lentils tender, but sturdy enough to hold up in the salad. Remove from heat and drain if necessary. Combine warm lentils and roasted veggies with chopped chard, parsley, and remaining 2 T dressing. Let stand and cool before placing in refrigerator. Refrigerating about one to two hours will really intensify the flavors!
What types of unique salads do you bring to parties that always get rave reviews??