Squash, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad

Guys, I am so, so, so tired. I think it might have something to do with the whole wedding/family-family-wedding marathon I’ve been doing the last few weeks. It may also have something to do with the raging cold I developed in the middle of it all, which I’m yet to shake. Regardless of the reason, I. Am. Tired. But I’m getting back on track. I fully intend to do NOTHING this weekend. My nothing will involve some (a ton of) quality time with my DVR, maybe some fall shopping, and a whole lotta fall cooking.

This is quite literally the only thing I’ve cooked in the last 2 weeks. For me, that has to be some sort of personal record. Needless to say, I’m way way behind on my fall cooking! I love fall cooking! It’s my favorite season and it possesses my favorite foods and flavors and here I go neglecting it! Well no more. This weekend, it ends. It’s gonna be bake bake bake, braise braise braise. Unless it’s just simmer simmer simmer and saute saute saute. I haven’t decided yet. Whatever I decide to make, this lazy neglectful behavior is about to come to an end!

Calling this a salad is a bit of a stretch, particularly since I haven’t been eating it with any greens, but I’m honestly not sure what else to call it. So “salad” it is. I’m a major lover of lentils. They’re just so earthy and flavorful and, for me, they’re distinctly a cool-weather food. I bookmarked this recipe a few weeks ago and decided to make this past weekend when I realized I had several squash and all the other ingredients on hand. I used one sugar pumpkin and a delicata squash, which lent nice texture variation; the pumpkin is extremely soft and sweet when baked, while the delicata is more firm and savory. You could use any squash you want, but I would lean towards something sweeter, as it plays nicely off the super savory lentils and tangy cheese. The smoked paprika and cumin are delightful and the whole dish is more complex than you would expect from the number of ingredients. Mostly though, it’s just comforting fall food. Exactly what I want and need right now.

Squash, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad

Adapted from A Moveable Feast, who adapted it from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Epicurious and so on and so forth….

Again, you can really use any squash here. I liked this warm, cold and with or without arugula. Super versatile.

3/4 c black or green lentils
4 c peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash or sugar pumpkin (1-inch cubes)
3 T olive oil
1 t ground cumin
1 tsmoked Spanish paprika
1/2 t coarse salt
1/4 c soft crumbled goat cheese
1/4 c thinly sliced mint leaves (optional; I didn’t have any and I clearly wasn’t going to the store for it, so no mint for me)
1 T red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
4 cups baby arugula (optional!)

  • Heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil
  • Drizzle cubed squash with 2 T oil, cumin, paprika, and sea salt. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet and roast ~30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Cool slightly
  • Meanwhile, cover lentils with salted water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cook ~30 min, until tender but not falling apart. Drain and cool slightly
  • Combine lentils and squash in a large bowl with 1 T olive oil, 1 T vinegar and half of goat cheese. Season with salt, pepper and more vinegar if needed
  • Serve over arugula (or not), sprinkled with the remaining goat cheese

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