Spicy lentil, squash and goat cheese salad

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Ladies and gentleman, here is a salad I’ve made for many a Thanksgiving dinner (OK fine, two Thanksgiving dinners), and it has been a big hit.  If nothing else, it makes you feel better about all that pie you ate later on.

It combines some delicious seasonal ingredients and seasonal colors and is not at all hard to make.  Here are the basics.

♫ Suggested listening: something autumnal. ♫

Click to listen: Bill Evans Trio – “Autumn Leaves”

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup French green lentils (I used the regular grey-ish beige kind and it was just fine)
  • 6 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika (I used mild, but added some cayenne to the mix to make up for it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups baby arugula (omitted; I used extra mint leaves instead)
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Instructions

Lentils

Lentils cook up better if you soak them for a bit.  Put them in a bowl and cover them with water and let them soak for about 10 minutes.  Drain, then cook in salted water for approximately 30 minutes, rinse with cold water and let them cool.

Squash

Toss your squash cubes with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and your spices (cumin, paprika, sea salt, and cayenne, if so inclined).  Spread them on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, then flip them over as best you can and roast another 10 or 15 minutes, until you can stick them with a fork and it slides right in.  Take them out and let them cool.  Try not to eat all of them.

The fun part

Once your lentils and squash have cooled, toss them together with your arugula if you’re using it, half the goat cheese, the vinegar, and the mint.

Crumble on the remaining goat cheese for serving.  If not using the arugula, do the same with the mint for some extra green.

Take an instragram, you hipster you.

Sit back and watch the compliments roll in.  Bask in them with a dash of modesty.

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