warm winter salad

I love vegetables. I'm an equal opportunity employer of them in my cooking, but if pressed I would probably say that winter vegetables are my favorite. Yeah, they typically require some coaxing from the oven or saute pan. But just because they don't have the natural grace of those easy summer vegetables ('oh, i'm such a gorgeous raw tomato, just slice me and eat me, oh') doesn't mean they're not twice as delicious when properly attended to.

Here's a delicious and healthy winter lunch. Time all the ingredients right, and you will have a plate of earthy lentils, laced with the sweet notes of caramelized onions and the savory crunch of roasted cauliflower, mixed with slightly wilted lemony arugula. Doesn't get much better. So there, tomato salad.

warm winter salad

1 c dried red lentils
3 c water
bay leaf
thyme sprigs
1 med onion, halved then sliced thinly
1 small cauliflower, chopped
tbsp sherry vinegar
10 oz arugula

Preheat oven to 400. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until brown.
Meanwhile, heat some olive oil or butter in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring water to a boil with bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Add lentils, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, then toss with sherry vinegar.
Right before serving, toss arugula with a squirt of lemon juice and some olive oil. Mix together lentils, onions, and cauliflower and serve warm.

makes four salads.