Monday, November 22, 2010

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese

Me thinks it’s time for something a little bit healthier. Not that there’s anything wrong with cakes and cookies, but I figure we all need a few deliciously healthy recipes to balance out our seasonal indulgences. You know, so we can fit into something besides our seasonal sweatpants.

Today’s salad is the perfect way to lighten up your fall cooking. It’s an addictive combination of smoky, spiced butternut squash, hearty French green lentils, creamy goat cheese, peppery arugula, and crunchy pumpkin seeds. The flavors, colors, and textures balance each other beautifully and will leave you marveling over how just a few ingredients can come together to make something so incredibly tasty. Filling enough to be served as a vegetarian entrée, this salad would also be a fantastic first course at a dinner party – and maybe Thanksgiving, too.

One Year Ago: Taco Soup

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Bon Appétit

6 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 T. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. hot smoked paprika *
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
3/4 cup French green lentils, picked over for stones and rinsed
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pepitas or roasted pumpkin seeds
1 T. red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

* I used regular (not hot) smoked paprika and added a little ground chipotle pepper powder for some additional smoky heat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, cumin, paprika, and coarse salt. Toss well to coat the squash evenly.

Spread the squash in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, then flip the pieces and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

While the squash is roasting, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook until tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Drain the lentils, rinse with cold water, and drain them again.

In a large bowl, combine the roasted squash, lentils, arugula, goat cheese, pepitas, red wine vinegar, and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional red wine vinegar, if desired.

Serve immediately.

Serves 3 as a main dish, 6 as a first course.

1 comment:

  1. This recipe is delicious!! This is definitely a keeper in my house.



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