moroccan lentil salad with cauliflower couscous

I am not officially a vegan but I eat 90% vegan or vegetarian.  It is what works for me.  Too much meat and I blow up like a balloon at the Macy’s parade.  And this has happened in the past 5 years or so.  Before that I was the ultimate carnivore. But eating mostly vegetarian (or vegan) has its challenges— for me, it is recipes. To be honest most of my meals are a hodge-podge of various produce items in my refrigerator and cabinets (canned).  And I honestly don’t feel like buying a strictly vegetarian or vegan cookbook. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I received my copy of Run Fast Eat Slow by Shalane Flanagan.  You probably read about it a few posts back.  Well, a lot of the recipes, if they are not vegan, they can be turn into it.  I really love the book.  It is easy to follow and the photos are beautiful. Also, there are some great stories.  Plus it is Shalane Flanagan—that’s all I am going to say.

When I first browsed through the book the first recipe that caught my eyes was the Moroccan Lentil Salad with Cauliflower Couscous. 





That is how strongly I feel about this recipe.  First, while it is a salad (which I personally associate with spring/summer) the flavors make it perfect even in winter. And second, it serves approximately 6 people which means, if it just for you (as in my case since the family turns up their noses at my “healthy” fares) it makes tons of leftovers. 


 have a love for Moroccan dishes and when I saw this has ‘ras el hanout’ I was totally in.  If you have never used this spice mix you are missing out.  It gives food a beautiful warm aroma reminiscent of the Middle East.  When you this ‘ras el hanout’ think of it as a combination of cumin, ginger, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cayenne for a little heat, ground allspice and cloves.  It is just delicious and it reminds me of its Indian cousin ‘garam masala’ another spices mix you must put in your cooking bucket list, if you have not tried it.

Now, this recipe is a two part process—the lentil salad AND the cauliflower couscous.

Moroccan Lentil Salad w/ Cauliflower Couscous (from Eat Fast Run Slow Cookbook by Shalane Flanagan)


  •  1 1/2 cups cauliflower couscous.  For this, chop cauliflower in food processor until it resembles “couscous” grains the saute in olive oil for 3 minutes.
  • 1 cup dried green lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 medium-size carrots, peeled, grated
  • 2 cups loosely packed chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup toasted pistachios or almonds, chopped (I actually used pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Ras el Hanout (Moroccan spice blend)


  • Place the lentils in a medium pot, add the salt, and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender but not mushy, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • Place the carrots, kale, nuts, apricots, olives, and Ras el Hanout in a large salad bowl.
  • Add the cauliflower couscous and lentils and toss until evenly combined. Add two-thirds of the dressing (recipe below), toss, and taste. Add more dressing to taste, if needed.


  •  1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper


  • Combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper in a glass jar with a lid.
  • Shake vigorously until emulsified.drizzle of olive oil. Cover the salad and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

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