Lebanese flavors are some of my favorites. Cumin, fennel, cinnamon, lemon, garlic — could it get any better? Folded through some tender kaniwa, lentils, and caramelised onions, apparently it can. I make this dish when I have leftover grains and legumes in the fridge, as it comes together quickly when these have been precooked. Although I’ve paired the kaniwa and lentils with golden roasted cauliflower, any vegetables would be delicious on the side, such as carrots, pumpkin, or beetroot.
- 1 head yellow cauliflower (white cauliflower is also fine)
- knob of ghee or coconut oil, melted
- flaky sea salt
- ½ cup (125 g) kaniwa or quinoa
- fine sea salt
- 1 cup (200 g) green lentils
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 small onions (350 g), sliced
- 2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
- grated zest of 1 organic orange
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ⅓ cup (7 g) chopped fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- ⅓ cup (7 g) chopped fresh parsley leaves
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp raw honey
- pink peppercorns, for garnish
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF/gas mark 6). Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Cut the cauliflower head into slices. Toss them with a little ghee and salt, and then arrange them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until the slices are browning on the edges.
Meanwhile, rinse and drain the kaniwa. Put it in a small saucepan, add just under 1 cup (225 ml) of water and fine sea salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
Rinse and drain the lentils. Put them in another small saucepan, add water to cover, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. About 5 minutes before the lentils are finished cooking, add a few pinches of flaky sea salt.
Heat a knob of ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, and black pepper. Cook until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring often, until lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add the cooked kaniwa and lentils, stir to combine, and reheat if necessary. Remove the cinnamon stick.
Whisk the olive oil, orange zest and juice, lemon juice, mint, parsley, fine sea salt, and honey together in a small bowl. Pour this over the lentils and kaniwa.
To serve, divide the kaniwa-lentil mixture, as well as the cauliflower slices, among four plates. Sprinkle with chopped mint and pink peppercorns. Serve warm.
Recipe and image from My New Roots by Sarah Britton (Pan Macmillan, $42.99, hbk).