I normally make a soup out of red lentils but I saw it in the cookbook which I have at home that you could make a salad as well. The problem with red lentils is that they don’t hold shape very well and they can become lentil purée very quickly if you are not very careful about how long you cook them for. I still decided to give this salad a try. The inspiration came from this vegetarian cookbook I have at home and also from Becca (Amuse Your Bouche) who coated her sweet potato with smoked paprika before roasting it. I decided to do the same with butternut squash. It gives it a really nice flavour and I actually prefer butternut squash from sweet potato as it’s not that sweet.
Unfortunately I cooked my lentils for a little bit too long and at the end it managed to look like a purée. 🙂 Nonetheless, the salad was a success. Roasted smoked paprika butternut squash went very well with red lentils and spinach and fried red onions and goat’s cheese on top added more flavour to the salad making it super delicious. It was very filling salad too due to its high protein and fibre content.
If you are not a big fan of spices like cumin seeds and ginger, then just don’t add them or add only a little bit like I did. You could also add some coriander if you like it. Add salt and pepper if you feel it needs it.
I am not very sure how long it took me to make but with all the preparations I am sure it was more than 30 minutes.
- a cup of red lentils
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- rapeseed oil
- ginger (fresh or powder)
- around 400ml vegetable stock
- 1/2 big red onion
- 50g young spinach leaves
- 1/2 butternut squash
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- goat's cheese
- 1/2 lemon (to squeeze over the salad at the end)
- salt, pepper (if/when required)
- Cut butternut squash into cubes and coat them into rapeseed oil, salt and smoked paprika. Roast on 200C for around 15-20 minutes depending on how big the cubes are.
- While butternut squash is roasting heat up some rapeseed oil (1-2tbsp), add cumin seeds and garlic and gently fry on a medium heat for a minute or so (don't let the garlic to get brown). If you are using fresh ginger, also fry ginger together with cumin seeds and garlic; otherwise add the ginger later.
- Add rinsed lentils to the pan together with the vegetable stock (enough to cover all the lentils). Let it cook for around 20 minutes and when needed add more vegetable stock (or water).
- Gently fry sliced red onions on a few tablespoons of rapeseed oil, just enough so they go slightly soft.
- On a big plate arrange spinach leaves which you drizzled with some olive oil, cooked red lentils, roasted butternut squash and red onions. I layered lentils and butternut squash and added red onions on top of the salad.
- Finally, add the goat's cheese on top.
- Squeeze some lemon over the salad just before you eat it.