Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Butternut Squash, Lentil and Chickpea Salad

Yesterday a butternut squash caught my eye at the green grocers. I admit I bought it completely on a whim without a clue what to do with it. I knew I didn't want to just plain roast or mash the squash, but I really wasn't sure how to mix the sweetness of the squash with other ingredients I had in the house. After looking through a lot of recipes I finally decided that I could make a warm salad out of chickpeas, lentils and squash. Most of the recipes I saw leaned towards Indian or Moroccan spices, but I just wasn't into it and wanted something more, well, general. I opted for a lemony flavor and I'm so happy I did! This salad is fantastically light in flavor but filling enough to make a meal out of it. Using the seeds of the butternut squash adds a nice texture as well as making the salad super nutritious.

This recipe takes a while to cook but most of the time is inactive so you can make it while doing something else. The salad is good both hot and cold so if you don't have 40 minutes in a row, make the squash and squash seeds first and then combine it with the chickpea and lentil mixture when you are able.

Butternut Squash, Lentil and Chickpea Salad
1 Butternut Squash
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 cup cooked chickpeas (Rinse well if using canned)
1/2 cup split red lentils
Juice and Zest of 1 lemon
1.5 cups water
Salt to taste
Dash of chili powder
1 bay leaf

The Squash
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350F)
  2. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seed. Rinse the seeds and reserve for later. Prick the squash a few times with a fork.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the squash on the foil, cut side down. Bake for approximately 40 minutes

The Seeds

  1. Thinly spread the squash seeds into a pan and bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes

The Lentils and Chickpeas

  1. In a large pot saute the garlic, onion and olive oil until onion is lightly browned
  2. Add the chickpeas, lentils, lemon juice, lemon zest, bay leaf, water, salt and chili powder to the pot.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil
  4. Reduce the heat to low and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.

Making the Salad

  1. Allow the butternut squash to cool for 15 minutes
  2. Peel the skin from the butternut squash (now that the squash is cooked you can do this with your fingers or a butter knife)
  3. Cut the butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes
  4. Combine the squash and lentil mixture.
  5. Top with squash seeds

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total Cook Time: 40-45 minutes

Total active time: 15 minutes

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