Roasted Squash and Lentils

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This recipe has been sitting half finished for awhile but this description  of how thing s have been of late still holds true. At times life seems to be relentless and if I’m honest a little brutal. In moments like this I often fall into what I call “subsistence eating”. I fall out of love with the process of bringing a meal to the table. I clean out the pantry of things, only buy a few staple items like cheese and salad from the store and pick at all of it. The last few months when I haven’t been traveling have felt exactly like that. I may have eaten a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner 4 nights in a row while Rob was away.

Of course I eventually realize I have to snap out of it and want a deeply flavorful plate of something not overly complicated that takes some effort to make, and feels like it’s actually fueling my body. I have to fall in love with the ingredients and the process again. Enter this lentil salad with roasted kabocha squash. I grew these squash over the summer and they’ve been quietly waiting in a cold corner of our garage for me to do something with them. I roasted slices in the oven and threw them over a bed of lentils with a sharply acidic dressing and some slow cooked onions. Topped with a bit of cheese, herbs, and some chili flakes; the flavor really rounds out. In this case it was feta, cilantro, and urfa chili but the options are endless. If you haven’t tried urfa chili I suggest searching some out. Here in Flagstaff I had trouble finding some and had to resort to ordering them in the mail and I’ve been putting them on everything!

  • 2-3 small kabocha squash
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 cups black lentils ( french lentils are a good substitute)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon urfa chili flakes
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • juice and peel of one lemon
  • 4 oz feta crumbled
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro loosely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and slice into thin half moons. ( you can remove the skin if you like but it’s not necessary)
  3. Toss squash with 2 tablespoons of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until tender and lightly browned – about 20 minutes, turning halfway through.
  4. Meanwhile, cook lentils according to package directions with the two bay leaves. Drain and set aside.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in medium frypan. Sauté onions with 1 teaspoon salt until very soft and slightly brown. In the last few minutes stir in garlic to cook
  6. Take the onions off the heat and mix in 1 teaspoon chili flakes, set aside.
  7. Mix together remaining olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon, lemon peel & salt.
  8. Pour the lentils into a large shallow bowl. Mix in most of the dressing. Top with onions, squash, feta and cilantro. Pour over remaining dressing and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon chili flakes.
  9. This serves well warm, room temperature and cold.

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