Roasted Cauliflower, Paneer, and Mixed Lentil Salad

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Preparation info

  • Makes

    7 to 8

    Servings as a Side
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food


By Nik Sharma

Published 2018

  • About

With its soft, creamy texture, paneer (an Indian cottage cheese made by curdling boiling milk with lemon juice) is excellent in salads. And it has an interesting quality: it holds its shape when heated, and doesn’t melt. Here it’s roasted with cauliflower.


  • ½ cup [100 g] green lentils, picked over for stones
  • ½ cup [115 g] black lentils, picked over for stones
  • 1 small cauliflower (1 lb [455 g])
  • 10 oz [280 g] Paneer, cut into ½ in [12 mm] cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • ¼ cup [60 g] Cilantro Oil Dressing


Preheat the oven to 425°F [220°C]. Rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by about 1 in [2.5 cm]. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, turn the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, until tender but not mushy, 30 to 60 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on how old the lentils are, so check them every 5 minutes after the first half hour. Drain through a fine-mesh strainer and set on a clean kitchen towel to absorb any remaining liquid.

While the lentils are cooking, roast the cauliflower and paneer: Break the cauliflower into bite-size florets and transfer to a roasting pan. Add the paneer. Season with the salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil, mixing to coat evenly. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the florets and paneer are crispy on the outside and feel tender when pierced with a skewer or knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and gently stir in the drained lentils and scallions. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Drizzle with the dressing and serve warm or at room temperature. (Store the leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.)