Thursday, August 22, 2013

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cup black or green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash or sugar pumpkin (1-inch cubes) (from about a 2-poudn squash)
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika (or 3/4 tsp regular smoked paprika + 1/4 tsp cayenne)
1/2 tsp coarse salt
4 cups baby arugula (optional)
5 oz crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves (optional)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Toss squash or pumpkin cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.
3. Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.
4. Combine lentils, pumpkin, any oil you can scrape from the baking sheet with arugula, if using, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired. Divide among plates and pass with remaining goat cheese to sprinkle.

Optional: If you’d like to toast the squash seeds, simply clean them off, rinse and pat them dry and toast them in the oven on an oiled baking sheet, sprinkled with salt.  Serve them over the lentils.

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 3 as a main course.

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