Mediterranean Harvest Salad

I love butternut squash.  That’s why I was thrilled when my friend Jess shared a recipe she uncovered in a vintage Bon Appetit magazine that celebrates butternut squash in a harvest salad that is packed with mediterranean flavor!  Typically, I roast butternut squash simply with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, but  Bon Appetit’s recommendation to season the squash with fresh ground cumin and smoked Spanish paprika peaked my interest.  It brings together some of the ingredients that I enjoy cooking with on a regular basis like arugula and goat cheese and tosses them together with some unexpected players like French green lentils and mint!    The spices on the butternut squash and the mint really added an exotic flavor to a beautiful harvest salad.

Inspired by Bon Appetit!

Serves 8 as an appetizer; or 4 as a main dish

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup French green lentils
  • 6 cups 1 inch cubed butternut squash (from a 2-2 1/2lbs whole squash) Bon Appetit also suggests a sugar pumpkin, yum!
  • 3 Tbs good olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup mint, chiffonade
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar

PREPARATION

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Soak lentils in cold water for 10 minutes; drain.
  • Place lentils in a small pot and cover with salted water.  Bring to a boil and cook until tender but
    still firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain.

  • Place butternut squash or sugar pumpkin in large bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika,
    and sea salt. Arrangebutternut squash in single layer on baking sheet; roast 15 minutes. Turn butternut squash over. Roast until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool.
  • Combine lentils, pumpkin, and oil from baking sheet with arugula, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among plates; garnish with remaining goat cheese and a sprig of mint.
  • I added chopped almonds to the top for a little extra crunch.  Other flavors that I would like to try include roasted pepitas, crispy pancetta or even dried cranberries!
  • AJ and I enjoyed this as our main course last night for dinner with a few slices of warm Cranberry Walnut bread.  AJ couldn’t believe that a salad could be so satisfying:) 

Enjoy!

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