Braised Cauliflower and Puy Lentil Tabouleh
Tabouleh is a proper southern Med classic. Combined with great olive oil and sweet roasted cauliflower it makes a substantial salad. I love the spice mix baharat – if you can find it, substitute it for the ground spices. I like to use pomegranate molasses in the dressing – it gives a funky reddish tinge and has a sticky tang all of its own. For a special occasion, go the whole hog and sprinkle over herbs, baharat, pomegranate and chopped toasted almonds. Gluten-free option: replace the bulgar wheat with millet.
- 100g Puy lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 220g bulgur wheat, rinsed in cold water
- about 450ml boiling water or veg stock
- 1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets, roughly 2cm in size, stalks finely diced (waste nothing!)
- a large pinch of ground cumin
- a large pinch of ground coriander
- a large pinch of sweet paprika
- a large pinch of ground turmeric
- a small pinch of ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- ½ a cucumber, deseeded and finely diced
- 2 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
- 1 tbsp great olive oil
- ½ a handful of dried apricots, soaked for 2 hours, then drained and finely chopped
- a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- ½ a handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- seeds from 1 small pomegranate
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- For the garnish:
- 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- a handful of chopped fresh parsley and mint
- For the Pomegranate Dressing:
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or juice of 1 large lemon
- zest of ½ a lemon
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and well crushed
- a small pinch of dried mint
- a small pinch of sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
Put the lentils into a pan and cover with water. Leave for 5 minutes, then pick out any floating lentils. Drain, cover with fresh water, and add the bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring and checking the water level (add more if needed). The lentils should be springy, but cooked. Drain if necessary, though there should be very little liquid left.
Put the bulgur wheat into a large bowl and pour over the boiling water or stock, enough to cover it by about 2cm. Tightly cover and leave for 30 minutes. Once cooked, fluff with a fork and cool.
In a frying pan, heat the oil on a high heat, then add the cauliflower and begin to fry. Stir regularly and cook for 10–12 minutes. Once the cauliflower has softened and the edges are slightly charred, sprinkle over the ground spices and salt and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring well. Cover and leave to cool. The cauliflower should be nicely coated with the spices.
For the Pomegranate Dressing simply whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Add three-quarters of the lentils to the bulgur wheat, along with the cauliflower, herbs and the rest of the ingredients, then pour over the dressing and mix gently together with your hands until well combined. Place in a wide, shallow serving bowl and spread out evenly. Sprinkle over the remaining lentils and garnish with pomegranate seeds and herbs.