Tag Archives: pepitas

Winter Salads Rock

One of the pleasures of winter is creating salads using vegetables quite different than those found during the summer months. Root vegetables, beans, legumes and hearty greens all step up to be used in endless creations. Roasting vegetables deepens their flavor, while beans and legumes form layers of interest. Sweet and salty, acid and fats all do their part in making winter salads that are not only interesting, but healthy and delicious. Lettuce be damned!

This salad is full of roasted butternut squash, lentils simmered with a cinnamon stick and smashed garlic, scallions, feta and toasted pepitas. Add a dressing of orange and lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper and grapeseed oil and you have something you can serve as the main event or as a side with a protein. You can even double or triple it for a crowd.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH LENTILS AND FETA

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (1-pound) butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro (optional)

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pick any debris from the lentils, then rinse the lentils under running water. Transfer them to a medium saucepan, then add the cinnamon stick, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add enough water to cover the lentils by an inch. Bring the water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low and let simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain the lentils, discard the cinnamon and garlic; then transfer them to a large bowl.
  2. While the lentils cook, prepare the squash. Trim and discard the top and bottom ends of the squash. Peel the squash, halve it lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds. Slice and cube the squash into about 1 inch pieces, and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with Kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the squash until completely tender, slightly caramelized and golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes; then add to the lentils.
  4. While the squash cooks, prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the orange and lemon juice, grapeseed oil, cumin, cayenne and salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle the scallions, feta and pumpkin seeds over lentils and squash. Pour 3 tablespoons of dressing over the lentils and squash. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.

Serves 2-4

“A well made salad should have a certain uniformity; it should make perfect sense for those ingredients to be in a bowl together.” –Yotam Ottolenghi