This past weekend we headed up north to see my family. We often break up the three and a half hour drive by stopping for a coffee or bite to eat along the way, but as it was a public holiday we were unsure if anything would be open and decided to pack a lunch to take instead. I wanted to pack us a lunch that didn’t spoil on the drive up so I decided against the more traditional leafy green and juicy tomato options and went for a hardier chopped cauliflower and lentils instead.
For the dressing I used chermoula with is a middle Eastern marinade that I have been experimenting with quite a bit ever since first tasting this. Traditionally its made with preserved lemon which I didnt have on hand so I used fresh instead, and added a good scoop of smokey paprika which I love using in middle Eastern dishes.
On the way up we did manage to find a few little cafes that were open along the way, including Utsi cafe which is my favorite little cafe along the way. It is in a restored church and whilst the menu is largely paleo/primal focused (and within that – lots of meat!) they serve the most delicious chai latte made with homemade almond milk. Even if you’re a non-meat eater like myself this place is definitely worth stopping by if your ever in the hood (Perth, Tasmania) just for the amazing chai’s and the perfect little gingerbread hearts that come with them.
So back to the salad – I wasn’t intending to post the recipe here but it turned out really well, so I wanted to share it. This salad would make a great base to build upon but I quite enjoyed it as it was, however if you wanted to bulk it out I would think that some grilled fish or even smoked/canned salmon or tuna flaked and tossed through would work well. Even better – marinate the fish or some sliced tofu in some of the chermoula dressing and then grill it. I had some leftovers the next day with some roast vegetables which was also amazing. I hope you like it as much as I do.
Chopped cauliflower and lentil salad with smokey chermoula
1/3 head of cauliflower
1 can brown lentils, drained and rinsed
Half small red capsicum (pepper), thinly sliced
60g feta, crumbled
Small handful baby spinach, chopped
2 Tbsp roughly chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
Smokey chermoula dressing
80ml olive oil
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsps each cumin and coriander
1 tsp chili
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp finely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
2 Tbsp water
Make the dressing first by combining all the ingredients in a jar and shaking to mix. Allow to sit for at least half an hour before serving to allow the flavours to infuse the oil.
To make the salad, chop the cauliflower with a sharp knife or alternatively process it in a food processes – you want a fine crumb, around the size of couscous.
Mix the chopped cauliflower, half the feta and lentils together and then add to a serving tray. Top with the chopped greens, capsicum and remaining feta, and then drizzle over the dressing.