Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.
This Curried Lentil Salad is a hearty, wholesome dish that’s packed with flavor and vibrant colors — the perfect vegan and gluten-free lunch or picnic side!
Table of Contents
I’m always looking for new ways to switch up my salad game, especially since it’s been warm and sunny here in the pacific northwest. This Curried Lentil Salad might just be my new favorite! It’s veggie-filled, flavor-packed, and full of plant-based protein…plus it’s so pretty to look at!
Ingredients for Curried Lentil Salad
This bright and colorful dish is full of veggies! Hearty lentils, roasted cauliflower, sweet carrot, and tangy pickled red onions combine with fresh cilantro and a simple curry powder-infused vinaigrette.
- French lentils – The secret to chewy (not mushy) lentils is to use French Lentils, or Lentils du Puy. These lentils are smaller than your traditional brown lentil, and have a firmer skin. That means that they keep their texture during cooking without turning into mush.
- Cauliflower has a crunchy texture and mild flavor that pairs perfectly with anything curry, in my opinion!
- Garlic Powder – We’ll use garlic powder for both the salad and the dressing to add just the right amount of flavor and kick.
- Curry Powder – The star of every great curry dish is a fantastic curry powder. Every blend of curry powder tastes a little different, so use the one that you like best!
- Freshly Grated Carrot adds a nice crunch and earthy sweetness to the salad.
- Pickled Red Onions are tangy, sweet, and a bit crunchy. I used my Quick Pickled Red Onion recipe for a fuss-free punch of flavor.
- Fresh Cilantro – The delicate green leaves add a fresh, citrusy flavor.
- Olive Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Dijon Mustard come together to make the base to our simple curry vinaigrette dressing.
How to Make Curried Lentil Salad
This Curried Lentil Salad is the perfect fuss-free dish for when you’re craving something hearty, but short on time. This recipe comes together in just an hour!
- Cook lentils until they are tender, then drain and set aside
- Add cauliflower to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add the spices, and toss until evenly coated. Roast until edges are browned.
- Prep the remaining veggies for the salad.
- Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, and spices in a small bowl until well-combined and set aside.
- Add drained lentils, roasted cauliflower, and remaining veggies to a large bowl, pour in dressing and toss until well-combined.
- Enjoy hot or cold!
This Curried Lentil Salad can be enjoyed as-is, or served over greens. You can also make it a heartier meal by mixing it with some rice, or adding in extra roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes or squash. It’s also perfect for easy meal-prep, as it stores in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Curried Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower
For the Salad:
- 1 1/2 cups 320 g french lentils* (lentils de Puy)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder divided
- 1/2 head of cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt-free curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- pinch of salt
- 1 carrot peeled and grated
- 1/4 packed cup Quick Pickled Red Onions
- 1/2 bunch cilantro thinly chopped
For the Vinaigrette*:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt-free curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 425F and line or grease a baking sheet. Sort through and rinse the lentils, then add them to a large pot and cover with water (1-2" above the lentils). Add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and a generous pinch of salt to the lentils, then stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Drain well, then set aside.
- Roast the Cauliflower: In the meantime, add the cauliflower to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, then add the curry powder, garlic powder, cayenne (optional), and salt. Toss the cauliflower until all pieces are evenly coated, then transfer to the baking tray. Bake in the top rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are browned.
- Make the Dressing: prep the remaining vegetables for the salad. Whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard, curry powder, and salt together in a small bowl until well-combined; set aside.
- Assemble: Add the drained lentils, roasted cauliflower, carrot, pickled onions, and cilantro to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the bowl, then toss until well-combined. Season with additional salt to taste, if necessary.
- Serve as desired; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be served hot or cold.
- Lentils: French lentils are different than brown lentils; they hold their shape and remain firm after cooking. They are harder to find than traditional lentils – some specialty stores may carry them, or you can purchase them online.
- Vinaigrette: for an Oil-Free Option, make this Curry Tahini Dressing instead