HTCE Fast: Red Lentils with Toasted Cauliflower

Red Lentils with Toasted Cauliflower

Every Wednesday, I’m featuring one of my favorite recipes from How to Cook Everything FastIf you cook it, too, I want to see it—tag it on social media with #HTCEFast. And enjoy!

There is no better use for lentils than dal, the stewed, spiced lentil dishes ubiquitous in India. The idea is to cook them long enough so they begin to break apart and become creamy. And these red pulses are not only traditional for the soupy dals (which are often used like sauces), but they also soften in minutes. Toasted cauliflower adds another layer of texture. To easily expand the meal, serve with rice, bread, or steamed greens.

5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1 inch fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
3 cups coconut milk (two 15-ounce cans)
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
4 scallions

Prep | Cook

1. Put 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Trim, peel, and chop the onion.

2. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.
Peel the garlic clove and 1 inch ginger; mince them together.

3. When the onion softens, add the garlic and ginger and 1 tablespoon curry powder. Cook, stirring until they’re fragrant, a minute or 2.

4. Add 3 cups coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1 1/2 cups red lentils. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily. Partially cover and cook, adding more water if the mixture gets too dry, until the lentils are tender and begin to break down and become saucy, 25 to 30 minutes.

5. Turn the broiler to high; put the rack 6 inches from the heat.
Trim and chop the cauliflower into small pieces (roughly 1/2 inch, but you don’t need to be exact).

6. Put the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with 3 tablespoons oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and spread it out in an even layer.

7. Broil, undisturbed, until the cauliflower is tender and nicely browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.
Trim and chop the scallions.

8. When the lentils are tender and beginning to break down, stir them vigorously with a spoon for a minute. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and divide them among 4 bowls. Spoon the cauliflower on top of the lentils, garnish with the scallions, and serve immediately.

Photo by Daniel Meyer

Posted in Mark Bittman Books, Recipes


  1. Lisa said...

    Nice post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Lisa Ann said...

    Hmm looks tasty!

  3. Jen said...

    Thank you. I have just invited my vegan friends over for dinner and I am paleo (which does not mean I eat meat all the time!). This is perfect! I have tried many “diets” and in the end, it is good FOOD that wins the day: quality ingredients, a good recipe, and laughter around the table that makes a meal. Thank you for sharing the recipes! They do make a difference.

  4. Anne Kim said...

    Love dal and cauliflower, also the concept of your book…healthy and quick. Found your blog among the top 10 for 60 great health blogs–congratulations!! It’s wonderful to find people who have followed their passion and sharing their lives and knowledge online. Thank you. Blessings to you, Anne

  5. Tina said...

    Delicious and easy and quick. Thanks and keep them coming!

  6. Jill said...

    I love this recipe! In fact, I’m kind of obsessed with it. I am gluten-free, dairy-free and meat-free and this fits the bill and comes together quickly. My whole family loves it. Thanks, Mark!

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