This healthy Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms, is a powerhouse of flavor, nutrition, and textures.
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 (and this Crockpot Lentil Soup), 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 mustard vinaigrette don’t exactly scream LOOK AT ME!—but after one bite, all three had my immediate, undivided attention.
Combined with the peppery arugula (as in this Arugula Salad) and meaty mushrooms, this quiet lentil salad turned out to be a recipe screaming with flavor.
5 Star Review
“Made this tonight and it was soooo good. And healthy as a bonus.”— Doreen —
How to Make Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms
With a simple 3-ingredient mustard vinaigrette, peppery arugula, and a combination of tender cauliflower and woodsy mushrooms, this healthy lentil salad is a soulful earthy salad that aims to satisfy (like this Pea, Lentil & Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing).
- Lentils. Despite their diminutive size and almost forgotten placement on the bottom shelf at the grocery store, lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition packed with fiber and hearty plant-based protein. (For another unexpected use of lentils, try these Lentil Meatballs).
- Chicken Broth. Use a quality chicken or vegetable broth to infuse the lentils with as much flavor and richness as possible.
- Cauliflower. Don’t let its pallid color fool you. Cauliflower is packed with essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, fiber, and folate. (Cauliflower fan? You’ll also adore this easy Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Cauliflower Salad.)
- Wild Mushrooms. While raw mushrooms can leave some serious room for improvement in the taste department, roasted mushrooms are magnificent (and Mushroom Tacos are even dreamier). A drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the heat of your oven are all you need to transform them from blah to BOOM.
- Arugula. The peppery flavor of tender green arugula marries perfectly with the earthy flavors of the mushrooms and lentils.
- Walnuts. For crunch and a daily dose of healthy monounsaturated fats. (I also like adding walnuts to this Apple Walnut Salad.)
- Parsley. A fresh, colorful finish to this warm lentil salad.
- Mustard Vinaigrette. An easy but effective combination of Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil wakes up the lentils and helps 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.
- Cook the lentils until tender.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
- Roast the mushrooms and cauliflower until tender and caramelized.
- Serve the lentils and warm roasted vegetables over a bed of arugula with a sprinkle of walnuts, chopped parsley, and a drizzle of homemade dressing. ENJOY!
- To Store. Once assembled, this 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.
- To Reheat. You may enjoy leftover lentil salad cold or at room temperature. You may also warm the roasted vegetables and lentils for a few seconds in the microwave if desired until heated through then serve over fresh arugula.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- All-Purpose Baking Sheet. My favorite for roasting veggies and sheet pan dinners (like this Sheet Pan Italian Chicken).
- Fish Spatula. My favorite for flipping roasted veggies and just about everything else.
Dearest lentils, for once you’re the star of the show rather than a supporting cast member.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! If you prefer or only have green lentils on hand, they may be swapped for the brown lentils without altering the final taste of texture of this dish drastically.
I have not tried this recipe with canned lentils, however, I think this swap could work (and save you some cooking time). Note that the overall taste and texture may be different.
If you have meat-eaters at your table and would like to add additional protein to this recipe, I think a Grilled Chicken Breast or Stuffed Pork Tenderloin would be two tasty options to consider.
Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mushrooms
For the Lentil Salad:
- 3/4 cup brown lentils
- 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 16 ounces mixed mushrooms I used a blend of cremini, shiitake, and oyster
- 1/2 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place the mushrooms on one prepared baking sheet and the cauliflower on the other. Drizzle each sheet with half of 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.
- 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.
- TO STORE: Once assembled, this 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.
- TO REHEAT: You may enjoy leftover lentil salad cold or you may warm the roasted vegetables and lentils for a few seconds in the microwave until heated through then serve over fresh arugula.
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Looks like a yummy vegetarian night option! I have green lentils in my pantry. Would they work? Would the flavor change?
Hi Sara, green lentils should work fine! The flavor change shouldn’t be too drastic. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
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!
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.
Can we use canned lentils?
Hello! I think you could use canned lentils, but they might have a slightly different flavor as the lentils in this recipe are cooked in chicken broth. I’d love to hear how it goes if you give it a try!
Made this tonight and it was soooo good. And healthy as a bonus. Thank you!
I’m glad you enjoyed the salad, Doreen! Thanks for taking the time to leave this review!
Yum! Thank you for all the great recipes! This is a delicious take on a salad. Perfect, hearty meatless meal!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Amy! Thank you for sharing this kind review!