Warm lentil and squash salad

Warm lentil and squash salad

This warm lentil and squash salad is tasty and low maintenance. It requires little attention while cooking and can be served anywhere on the temperature spectrum from chilled to piping hot depending on the promptness of the guests and how distracted I get chatting before I get around to feeding anyone.

The French lentils give substance while the fresh mint, squash and toasted almonds give enough flavour and texture for the dish to stand on its own as a main course.

Warm-lentil-squash-salad-2

Warm lentil and squash salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 100g banana shallots
  • ½ a butternut squash
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 200g French lentils, rinsed
  • 400ml water
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 8-10 sprigs oregano
  • Small bunch of mint, roughly chopped
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 30g flaked almonds
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Seasoning to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Peel and de-seed the squash and cut into 1 inch chunks. Peel, halve and slice the shallots into ½ inch pieces.
  3. Place the butternut squash and whole, unpeeled garlic cloves on a baking tray. Add a little olive oil and mix with your hands so that the oil is evenly distributed. Insert the oregano and rosemary and season with sea salt and pepper. Cook in the middle of the oven for around 40 minutes until the squash is soft and beginning to brown.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the shallots in a non-stick saucepan on a low heat in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the lentils to the shallots along with the bay leaf, white wine, water and seasoning. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  5. When the lentils are cooked, turn off the heat. Stir the spinach leaves through the lentils and replace the lid so that the spinach leaves start to wilt.
  6. In a non-stick frying pan and throw in the flaked almonds to toast. This will only take a minute or two and the almonds will be quick to burn so keep a good eye on them. Once the almonds start to brown transfer to a dish to cool.
  7. Stir the lemon juice through the lentils mixture. Squeeze the cooked garlic cloves over the lentils and spinach one by one, stirring and checking the taste between each clove so as not to make the dish too garlicky. Check and adjust seasoning as required. Discarding the rosemary and oregano, arrange the butternut squash on top of the lentils. Scatter over the chopped mint and toasted almonds.
  8. Serve with a green salad.

 

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