October 24, 2012

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Sticking with my "its-cold-out-and-I-crave-something-warming" theme, and needing to do something with the organic butternut squash that's been sitting on my counter for a week, I came up with this delicious salad for dinner tonight.  I love butternut squash.  It has so much flavour and richness, and reminds me of autumn and snuggling up by the fire.  Ok, so our fire is a lightswitch-style and electric and not really a fire at all.  But you get the idea. 

To make this dish you'll first need to peel your butternut squash.  I used a vegetable peeler and it worked just fine, although my squash was extra curvy so it was tough to get right into the crevasses. Cut half of your squash into 1/2 inch cubes along with the peeled garlic cloves, and toss with olive oil, cumin, paprika, sea salt, pepper.  By the way, I try to buy garlic cloves pre-peeled where possible.  Spread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake. 

Prepare your lentils by soaking them first for 10 minutes.  Rinse, bring to a boil, then cover with 3 inches of salted water and simmer for 20 minutes or until soft.  Make your Maple Vinaigrette by combining the ingredients in a small glass jar.  Screw on the lid tightly and shake until well mixed.  Mix the butternut squash, garlic, lentils, spinach, sunflower seeds and red onion in a bowl.

Toss in vinaigrette and serve.

Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Makes 2 Servings

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 head of garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup green lentils
2 cups spinach
2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 recipe of Maple Vinaigrette (below)

Toss cubed butternut squash, garlic cloves, olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.  Bake on parchment-lined baking sheet at 400 for 20 minutes.  Flip and bake for an additional 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile soak lentils for 10 minutes.  Drain lentils, place in pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, simmer for 20 minutes until soft.  Drain and rinse with cold water. 
Combine butternut squash, garlic, lentils, spinach, sunflower seeds and red onion.  Toss with Maple Vinaigrette and serve.

Maple Vinaigrette
Makes 2 Servings

1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake to mix.

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