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Spicy Squash Salad With Lentils & Goat Cheese

December 27, 2012

by Emilyspicy squash salad

If you need a healthy break from heavier doses of holiday food, then this recipe may be perfect for you. I love butternut squash, so roasting it with some savory spices, laying it on a bed of spicy arugula, mixing in the lentils, and topping it with a little goat cheese makes for a lovely non-holiday take on this root vegetable. This dish is perfectly meatless and I really think you’ll enjoy it, especially as the 2012 holidays come to a close.

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese
Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cup black or green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash or sugar pumpkin (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
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash or pumpkin 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.

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.

Combine lentils, pumpkin, any oil you can scrape from the baking sheet (I didn’t get enough for this to be worth it) with arugula, if using, half of goat cheese, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired. Top with additional goat cheese dollops.

*Smitten Kitchen Note: I swapped half with sweet (not hot) smoked paprika to make sure it didn’t get too spicy for a 13 month-old’s tastes. If you don’t have either on hand, there are ways to approximate this smoky/spiciness with what you have in your pantry, such as mixing some regular paprika with a ground chipotle powder or another smoky spice, and then a pinch of cayenne for extra heat.

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