This vibrant and nutritious Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing is made with vegan and gluten-free ingredients. Try it as a light dinner or pack it away for healthy lunches.Jump to Recipe
Warm flavors and hearty bites of spiced cauliflower and lentils make up this delicious Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing. It’s a dish you can enjoy year-round for meal prep, as a healthy side dish, or to bring to your next potluck.
This creamy and warm salad is made with roasted cauliflower, lentils, toasted almonds, and lots of fresh greens. It’s tossed together in a simple 3-ingredient lemon tahini dressing that brightens the flavor and adds plenty of tang. It’s a great go-to recipe to keep in your back pocket the next time you’re craving something savory, filling, and healthy.
I love bright and colorful salads, like my Keto Thai Steak Salad and Mediterranean Chopped Salad, but this one takes the cake. The simple ingredients come together to give you a perfectly balanced salad that is still light, vegan-friendly, and satisfying.
What is tahini?
Think of it like a nut-free peanut butter. Made from toasted ground sesame seeds, tahini is a paste that has a creamy texture and tastes slightly bitter and nutty. This Middle Eastern condiment can be used to make creamy dressings, in baba ganoush, or as a dip with falafel.
Roasted cauliflower and lentil salad ingredients
- Roasted cauliflower – I love how tender and meaty cauliflower becomes after it roasts in the oven. The florets only need a little oil and warming spices to help the flavors shine through. They’re the real star of this salad!
- Seasonings – Simple spices will infuse flavor into the cauliflower as it bakes. All you need are smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and kosher salt.
- Lentils – You’ll need beluga or green lentils to beef up this salad. They have plenty of protein and heartiness to make this salad a meal all on its own.
- Lemon tahini dressing – This simple dressing is made with tahini, lemon juice, and water. It’s flavorful and bright, vegan, and oil-free. It’s an easy salad dressing recipe to turn to when you don’t have anything else on hand.
- Toppings – Toasted almonds, red onion, and lots of fresh greens make up the rest of this salad.
How to make roasted cauliflower salad
Cook the lentils: Combine the lentils and water in a pot and bring it to a boil on the stove. Lower the heat and let them simmer until tender. Drain and season with salt.
Roast the cauliflower: Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil and spices. Roast in the oven until they’re tender and golden brown.
Make the dressing: Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a large salad bowl.
Assemble the salad: Add the lentils to the bowl and toss them in the dressing. Next, add the cauliflower along with the onions and greens. To finish, add the almonds and toss the salad together before serving.
Tips and substitutions
- The best lentils to use in this salad are black beluga or green lentils. Both of these will stay firm and hold their texture after they’ve been cooked. Don’t use red lentils as they’re much softer and will turn to mush.
- If you don’t have lentils, you can replace them with cooked quinoa, chickpeas, or any other bean you like.
- There are so many toppings you can add to this warm salad! Like parmesan crisps, roasted chickpeas, feta cheese, cucumber, radishes, pumpkin seeds, shaved brussels sprouts, or fresh parsley.
- The lemon tahini dressing doesn’t need much to taste amazing, but you can always blend it together with two garlic cloves and nutritional yeast to make it more savory.
Because this is a warm salad, it’s best served hot and fresh. You can always store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge to enjoy for weekday lunches. They should stay fresh for 3 to 5 days. If you’re making this ahead of time, don’t dress everything. Add dressing and spinach right before serving.
The tahini salad dressing can be stored in a jar in the fridge and used on plenty of other dishes throughout the week. Add a dollop to more salads, use it as a dipping sauce, or spread it on a sandwich.
More cauliflower recipes to enjoy
Cauliflower is one of my favorite veggies to use in main dishes, sides, or as a hearty topping in healthy dishes:
- 5-Ingredient Cauliflower Mash
- Cauliflower Gnocchi with Mushrooms
- Pork Chops with Cauliflower Mash
- Roasted Cauliflower and Chimichurri
- Purple Cauliflower Mash
Did you try this Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing? Let me know what you think and leave a comment below! Don’t forget to also take a picture of your recreation and tag me on Instagram. I love to see all of your photos!
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed (beluga or green lentils)
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt, add after cooking
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 4 tbsp lemon, freshly juiced
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cups spinach or arugula, loosely packed
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
- In a small pot, combine the lentils with 2 cups of water and bring them to a boil. Cover with a lid, simmer over medium heat until tender, 20 minutes. Drain well and let cool.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with the 1/4 cup of olive oil and the spices and salt. Roast for 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown.
- In a bowl, whisk the tahini with the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth.
- Add most of the dressing to the lentils, season with 1 ½ teaspoon of salt, toss to coat.
- Add the roasted cauliflower into the bowl along with onion, and spinach or arugula. Toss the salad, transfer to a platter, sprinkle with toasted almonds, and drizzle with remaining dressing.