10 November 2010

Chilli-Roasted Butternut Squash & Lentil Salad with Feta & Lime



Ladies and Gentlemen, repeat after me:

"I will never make butternut squash soup again."

Trust me, guys.

Now, I've made my share of curried butternut squash soup.  It's alright.  I sometimes make it extra-spicy.  People like this.  I like it, too... but this is better.  Any time I puree a butternut squash soup, I am inevitably reminded of something I've spooned into the mouth of a miniature human.

But, I'm a grown-up.  I am normal-sized and have teeth.  I decided to start demanding more from my butternut squash.

I've seen some people doing really pretty things with butternut squash these days.  They've inspired me.  This is one of the more colourful and flavourful dishes I've prepared in quite a while, and I'll be returning to this recipe for years to come.  Never again will I make butternut squash soup.



Chilli-Roasted Butternut Squash & Lentil Salad with Feta & Lime

Half of a butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cubed - reserve seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder (or cayenne)
1/4 cup (dry) french green lentils
handful of slivered almonds
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
50g feta, in 1-cm cubes
juice of 1/2 lime

Wash & pat dry seeds from butternut squash.  Spread onto an oiled baking sheet (I used sunflower oil for its neutral flavour) and sprinkle on some salt.  Roast at 200C (400F) until browned, mixing as needed.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and cayenne. When seeds are finished, reuse the baking sheet for the squash.  Roast in a single layer at 200C (400F) until beginning to brown.  Remove from oven and mix around on baking sheet, then return to oven for an additional 10 minutes or so, until completely cooked and nicely browning.  Set aside to cool in a large bowl (where you will mix your salad).

While squash is roasting, bring a pot of water to the boil and add lentils.  Simmer 20-30 minutes, until lentils are fully cooked but still have a little pop to them when bitten.  Set aside.

Toast almonds over medium heat in a dry skillet, add to squash in large bowl.  Once everything has cooled enough that it won't melt the feta, add lentils, chilli, feta & lime juice.  Gently toss together and serve sprinkled with toasted seeds.

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish.

9 comments:

  1. Wow this looks delicious! I just love the combo of feta and lentils.

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  2. This salad looks yummy and healthy! I love feta in anything so perfect! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I made this dish this week. Absolutely delicious! I did not add the red chili pepper- without it, I found that the cayenne added the perfect balance of heat amongst the other flavors. I will be cooking this again and again! Thanks scientist!

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  4. Oh my...this IS a gorgeous salad. There isn't one ingredient in this recipe I don't love!

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  5. Wow, this is a thing of inspiration. I think I'll join you in never making a butternut squash soup again - not now that I've finally seen what the squash is capable of!

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  6. I have teeth, too, and I am really, really stunned by your creative use of squash here. I don't think I've ever seen a recipe for roasting the squash seeds and adding them to a salad. It makes perfect sense.

    I'm 100% inspired!

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  7. Wow, this looks delicious. I think it just sprung to the top of my recipe list.

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  8. Rich, Cheryl & Laura - sweet of you to say! Enjoy. :)

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