I don’t know about you but I love a good picnic.
Every year, I host my company’s picnic at Harbour Green Park in Coal Harbour overlooking the Burrard Inlet. We get a chance to get out of the office, catch some rays, and share some delicious food.
This year we had a whopping total of 3 people, including my office rush. I was secretly freaking out as he was the only one who had committed to attending and I was anxious to know if it would just be us two. It was my dream and my nightmare at the same too but luckily, at the last minute, and I’m not sure if this was because he convinced his desk mate to come, but our other colleague came. It worked out because there was a ton of food and I didn’t really want it to feel awkward like we were on a date that never happened yet we were actually on date before which then ended up in disaster. BUT ANYWAYS.
I’ve been on a health kick lately because I’ve been super bloated and my body has been craving vegetables so I brought this delicious basmati rice, lentil and spiced cauliflower salad which was vegan-friendly and very, very filling. It went well perfectly with the chick pea salad that my office crush brought. Swoon.
Basically, I wanted to bring something that was filling, protein-rich, healthy and flavourful. I went with my usual equation for salads which is: grain + legume + herbs + veg. In this case, I went with basmati rice, which is a long-grain rice which separates nicely and doesn’t clump, lentils, radish, cauliflower, scallions and cilantro.
The flavour really comes through from the roasted cauliflower which I spiced with a lot of garam masala, berbere spice, sumac and cumin. There is a lot of Indian, Persian, and African influence here which sounds a bit crazy but honestly, it worked and the cauliflower was my favourite part of the salad. Super addictive. I actually roasted an entire head of cauliflower but only used half in the recipe but thinking back on it, I’d dump the rest in in a heartbeat.
All in all, deliciously satisfying and great for a hot summer’s day. Perfect for potlucks and picnics or even as a side to your dinner or as an entrée with some grilled cauliflower steaks or eggplant.
BASMATI RICE, LENTIL & SPICED CAULIFLOWER SALAD – serves 6
1 head cauliflower, chopped into small florets, stems included
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp garam masala
½ tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp berbere spice
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp dried onion powder
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups basmati rice, cooked
2 cups green lentils, cooked
½ bunch cilantro, chopped finel
4 scallions, sliced thinly
1/3 cup toasted almonds, sliced
1/3 cup sultana raisins
salt + pepper, to taste
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp berbere spice
1 tsp kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400F and set the rack to the middle. Line a baking sheet with a non-stick cover such as alumnimum foil or Silpat. Toss the cauliflower florets, olive oil, garam masala, cumin, chili powder, sumac, berbere spice, salt, turmeric, onion powder and pepper and ensure that everything is well-seasoned and the spices are equally distributed. Pop the cauliflower onto the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until fragrant and fork tender. Set aside and let cool.
In a large serving bowl, mix the rice, lentils, cilantro, lentils, scallions and the cooled, roasted cauliflower. In a small bowl, mix the dressing (olive oil, garam masala, berbere, and salt) and whisk together. Pour over the salad and toss.
Before serving, garnish with toasted almonds and raisins.