Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese

Despite my best attempts at menu planning and trying not to waste food, I often find myself getting near the end of the week staring at vegetables or herbs in my fridge that are about to go bad. I couldn't resist arugula at the store this week and had planned on pairing a nice arugula salad with the SK blue cheese potato tart. Somehow the tart didn't happen. When I saw SK post a recipe calling for both arugula and fresh mint (leftover from this week's celeriac and lentils), it seemed like the perfect opportunity to use up all those greens withering in my fridge. The dish is good, not exceptional, but it comes together easily. SK's version passes on the arugula, but I thought it added a nice flavour to the dish. I went to the store knowing I needed to buy red wine vinegar, but once again I forgot while I was there, so I ended up using balsamic again because my white wine vinegar isn't very good quality.

One year ago today: Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts, and Feta

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese (from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Bon Appetit)

3/4 cup French green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash (1-inch cubes) (from about a 2-pound squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup soft crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.
2. Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.
3. Combine lentils and squash with arugula, goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired.

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