This cauliflower rice recipe is perfect as a cold salad, hot side, or just as a substitute for rice. It takes under 30 minutes to make using just plant based ingredients, and it’s jam packed with flavor from warm masala spices.
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Springtime means light and easy flavorful dishes. During winter I’m okay with spending much of my evening in the kitchen, with the hot oven acting as a major source of heat in my house. But as the days warm up, I’m looking for lighter dishes that cut down on cooking time.
Enter: masala cauliflower rice and lentil salad!
I recently received the sampler of the month from Seasonality Spices, an awesome Etsy shop that has a variety of spices and herbs. One of the spices I received was Karachi Masala, a spice from Pakistan that is described as “deep and fiery” – I definitely have to agree with that. This spice is bursting with depth and flavor!
I used the Karachi masala to make this dish. If you aren’t able to access this specific spice, a good replacement is garam masala. The bright, warm flavors of garam masala usually include cinnamon, cumin, coriander, black pepper, clove, nutmeg and chili. The flavor profile is slightly different, but the idea is about the same.
If you haven’t tried cauliflower rice before, you’re in for a treat! It’s super easy to make: just chop up one head of cauliflower into individual florets and pulse a few times in a food processor. The cauliflower breaks down pretty quickly, so make sure to check after each pulse. Drizzle the riced cauliflower with the masala mixture and bake for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare your lentils. Lentils bring in a deep, earthy flavor and deliver plant based protein and fiber, among with many other benefits. Although red lentils are more commonly paired with masala spices, I chose to use green lentils for this recipe. Green lentils hold their form better than red, which works better with a salad.
Top with extra cilantro (if you’re not a cilantro hater, that is! If so – I’m sorry!) and an extra squirt of lime. Flllaaavor town!
Masala Cauliflower Rice and Lentil Salad
- 1/2 cup green or brown lentils, dry
- 1 and 1/2 cups water
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 teaspoons Karachi masala or garam masala*
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- juice of one medium lime, plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse and sort lentils, removing any debris. Combine lentils with 1 and 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduced to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are softened. Keep lentils covered with 1 inch of water while simmering.
- While lentils are simmering, prepare cauliflower by roughly chopping into individual florets. Pulse in a food processor until broken down into small rice size pieces. Be careful to check after every pulse to make sure that the cauliflower isn't over processed.
- Stir together brown sugar, turmeric, garam masala, lime juice, turmeric, and cayenne pepper in a small dish. Combine with riced cauliflower. Mix in whole cherry tomatoes.
- Spread seasoned riced cauliflower and tomatoes in a thin layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and mix in drained lentils, cilantro, and additional lime juice. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately or let cool in fridge prior to serving.