Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower & Lentil Bowl with Sweet Potato Hummus

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower & Lentil Bowl with Sweet Potato Hummus

Hetty McKinnon
Apr 20, 2017
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Roasted cauliflower is my weeknight staple. It is one of the simplest vegetables to prepare when in a hurry, as it only takes about 20 minutes to roast, and cooking it in a hot oven unlocks its earthy sweetness. This bowl features powerful complements to that sweetness: lentils, cilantro, and sweet potato hummus.

Best of all? Every single piece of this vegetarian bowl can be made ahead of time and tossed together in a flash for a wholesome, delicious meal.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

The Unexpected Genius of Sweet Potato "Hummus"

Aside from being utterly delicious, the sweet potato hummus in this bowl is a great way to increase your vegetable intake! Also, there are no chickpeas in this hummus — perhaps we should call it "hummus" or hummus-inspired.

As a replacement for chickpeas, the natural sweetness of sweet potato melds perfectly with nutty tahini to produce a really knockout sauce.

Sweet potatoes are interchangeable with butternut squash in this hummus-inspired recipe. If you are short on time, you could even use canned pumpkin purée. If you are feeling fancy, add a pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg for some extra spice.

Tip: This silky sweet potato hummus doubles as a lovely dip for crudités and flatbread.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Roasted Cauliflower Bowl with Lentils & Sweet Potato Hummus

Serves 4

  • 1 pound

    sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 clove

    garlic, peeled

  • Kosher salt

  • 1

    medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into small florets

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons

    plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup

    black lentils

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed

  • 2

    packed cups baby spinach leaves (about 2 ounces)

  • 1/3 cup

    coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 tablespoons

    toasted pumpkin seeds

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F.

Place the sweet potato, 2 tablespoons of water, and garlic in a small saucepan with a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until very soft, 20 to 25 minutes. If the sweet potato dries out, add another splash of water. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, roast the cauliflower and cook the lentils.

Place the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until golden-brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes; set aside.

Place the lentils and a big pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover the lentils by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain off any remaining water.

Add the tahini, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, cumin, and lemon juice to the sweet potato. Whisk to break up the sweet potato and combine until fairly smooth. Taste and add more salt, oil, or lemon juice as needed.

Place the roasted cauliflower, lentils, and spinach in a large bowl and toss to combine. Dollop the sweet potato hummus onto a large serving dish. Spoon the cauliflower mixture over or next to the hummus. Sprinkle with the cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The cauliflower can be roasted 1 day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The sweet potato hummus can be made and refrigerated up to 4 days ahead.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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