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Korean Cauliflower and Crispy Lentils

As much as I love roasted cauliflower, sometimes I get a bit tired of it and this past week, I realized that I had been staring at the last head of cauliflower for days, not quite knowing what to do with it. I had already made Korean Cauliflower Wings for The Neighbour's Super Bowl party and I wanted something similar but not made with a batter and a little lighter and, maybe some crunch would be nice. Sometimes I just walk around for days, obsessively thinking "spicy, crunchy. Spicy, crunchy, gochujang. Spicy, crunchy, gochujang, cauliflower" until it just sort of sneaks up from behind me and whacks me in the head.


These days I am knee deep in lentils because I am trying to come up with some new recipes for the annual Revelations Challenge over at Canadian Lentils. I have been doing all sorts of interesting thing to these little pulses for a couple of days now but one of the best things I have discovered is that they roast up beautifully. They come out all crispy and nutty and would be delicious added to just about anything.

As luck would have it, I remembered pinning a delicious looking recipe for sweet and spicy cauliflower by Blossom to Stem and that was my inspiration to find my first use for these roasted lentils. I roasted the cauliflower along with pre-cooked lentils - this is my new favourite way to use up leftover, plain lentils, by the way,  and tossed it with a sauce almost just like the sauce I use on my korean chicken and those Cauliflower Wings . Keep in mind that this only works with a firmer lentil so any of the green or brown lentils will work well, but forget about trying this with any sort of red or yellow lentil.

Korean Cauliflower and Crispy Lentils

1 small cauliflower
*1/2 cups dried du puy lentils, also known as french lentils  (or about 2 cups cooked lentils)

1 tbls veg oil
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
2 tbls ketchup (I used Nanny Hudson's)
4 tbls brown rice syrup (or corn syrup)
4 tbls gochujang
1 tbls soy sauce
1 tbls apple cider vinegar

garnish: scallions and toasted sesame seeds

*if you are using dried lentils, give them a rinse and put them in a pot of cold water. Bring the water up to a boil, turn down to a light simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Drain well and set aside, spread out on some paper towel to dry it off as much as possible.

When it's time to cook:
Preheat the oven to 450F

Cut your cauliflower into small florets and put in a large bowl. Add the cooked, cooled and dried lentils and drizzle about 1 tbls of vegetable oil and a generous tsp of sesame oil and toss well to coat everything in the oil. Sprinkle with a big pinch of kosher salt and dump it all out on a large, lightly oiled baking sheet.

Put the pan on the bottom rack and roast for 25 minutes, stirring the lentils and cauliflower once after about 15 minutes.

About five minutes before your cauliflower is done, make the sauce:

Saute the garlic in the veg oil/sesame oil in a small sauce pan over med heat until fragrant and just turning golden. Add in the ketchup, gochujang, soy sauce, vinegar and brown rice syrup and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened up a bit, approximately two minutes. Take off of the heat and set aside.

Remove the pan from the oven and dump the contents back into the large bowl. Scrape your sauce onto the cauliflower and lentils and mix until completely coated and serve with sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds on top.

You can serve it as a side dish or over rice on it's own.

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