Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms

I aspire to be more like the lentil. Despite their diminutive size and almost forgotten placement on either the top or bottom shelf at the grocery store, lentils don’t fret or seek to draw attention to themselves. It’s as if this humble legume is so confident in its own powerhouse status as a healthy source of fiber and protein, as well as its ability to add delightful flavor and texture to recipes such as this Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms, that it doesn’t care whether you pay attention to it or not.

Marinated Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms. Bright, healthy, and perfect for a filling lunch or side. {vegan, gluten free} Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Well, lentils, if you were hoping to sit quietly in the pantry, I am afraid I must disappoint you. Now that I’ve experienced just how tasty and filling you are in my salad, I am going to be paying you a lot of attention from this point forward.

I made this healthy lentil salad recipe for lunch a few weeks ago, and while I’d hoped it would be above average, I was not expecting it to captivate and satisfy me the way that it did. The ingredients are incredibly humble—lentils, cauliflower, and a simple red wine vinaigrette don’t exactly scream LOOK AT ME!—but after one bite, all three had my immediate, undivided attention.

Combined with the peppery arugula and meaty mushrooms, this quiet lentil salad turned out to be one roaring recipe.

Green Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms. Bright, healthy, and filling! {vegan, gluten free} Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Two important elements contribute to this green lentil salad’s unexpected flavor impact.

The first is pouring the dressing, an easy but effective combination of Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil, over the lentils while they are still warm. Lentils are pretty mild mannered on their own, so they need the dressing to wake them up and help them shine. Lentils absorb flavor best while still warm, so don’t wait to add the dressing until the end. This is a rare cooking situation in which impatience is your friend. Embrace it.

Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms. A healthy main dish salad that’s easy to make, can be served warm or cold, and is PACKED with flavor. Great for a filling lunch or simple side. {vegan, gluten free} Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

The second essential flavor component is roasting the cauliflower and mushrooms. As much as I adore both vegetables, raw mushrooms are best reserved only for the staunchest of their devotees. Raw cauliflower? I wouldn’t even inflict it on the woman who clearly stole my front-row parking space at the gym yesterday.

Because, yes, despite the fact that I go to the gym to exercise, I still like not having to walk very far to enter the front door.

Where were we? Ah yes. ROASTING. While raw cauliflower and mushrooms can leave some serious room for improvement in the taste department, roasted cauliflower and mushrooms are magnificent. A drizzle of olive oil, pinch of salt, and the heat of your oven are all you need to transform them from blah to BOOM.

Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms. A healthy main dish salad with SO much flavor. Serve warm or cold. {vegan, gluten free} Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Scrape the whole pan of roasted veggie goodness, including the caramelized bits that stick to the pan, right on top of your bed of lentils and greens. Finish with a shower of crunchy toasted walnuts, and you will have a well-mannered salad that is anything but meek!

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Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms

A bright and healthy Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms. Perfect for a filling lunch or satisfying side!

Yield: 4 servings (or 6–8 servings as a side)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Lentil Salad:

  • 3/4 cup brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 16 ounces mixed mushrooms (I used a blend of cremini, shiitake, and oyster)
  • 1/2 extra-large head of cauliflower, cut into florets (about 6 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 8 ounces arugula
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • Chopped fresh parsley

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Pinch kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Generously coat two rimmed sheets with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add the lentils and cook until tender but not mushy, about 20 to 25 minutes or as specified by the package. Watch the lentils towards the end of their cooking time and add additional chicken stock or water as needed to keep them from drying out.
  3. While the lentils cook, prepare the dressing: in a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, and salt (or shake all of the ingredients together in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid). Pour over the warm lentils and toss to coat. Taste and add additional salt as desired. Set aside.
  4. Place the mushrooms on one prepared baking sheet and the cauliflower on the other. Drizzle each sheet with half of the the olive oil and sprinkle each with half the salt and half of the pepper. Toss to coat, then spread in an even layer. Place in the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender and caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes, flipping once or twice throughout. The mushrooms will finish a few minutes ahead of the cauliflower.
  5. Place the arugula in a large serving bowl and top with the lentils and warm roasted vegetables, including any bits of the vegetables that stuck to the pan. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with walnuts and parsley. Enjoy immediately.
  • Composed lentil salad is best enjoyed the day it is made. If you’d like to have leftovers, only toss together the portion of the vegetables, lentils, and arugula you plan to eat that day. The roasted vegetables and lentils can be stored separately for up to 3 days.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 (of 4)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 374 Calories
  • Total Fat: 29g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Sodium: 586mg
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Fiber: 10g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Protein: 15g

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

14 comments

  1. Oh, what the world would be like if we were all more like lentils – unassuming, humble, yet strong and full of power! ;)

  2. This salad sounds quite intriguing, though I’m not sure my husband would appreciate the mushrooms.  What’s wrong with raw cauliflower?  Yes, it’s better when roasted, but I’ve always liked raw cauliflower.  I guess that’s just another way I’m strange…

  3. Looks like a yummy vegetarian night option! I have green lentils in my pantry. Would they work? Would the flavor change?

  4. ❤️ I adore everything in this salad!

  5. Oh my goodness! This looks perfect! What a great dish! :)

  6. I actually love raw cauliflower…… 😝 Great Salad Erin!

  7. Just the salad i was looking for!
    thanks

  8. Girlfriend . . .yum! This is a great weeknight dinner. It came together quickly, and the earthy flavors and differing textures make it more than the sum of its parts. My husband loved it, and I will definitely make it again. The arugula is key!

    Rating: 4.5
    • Hi Eileem, I’m so happy to hear both you and your husband loved this salad! Thanks for taking the time to leave this lovely review.

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