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Warm Roasted Squash and Puy Lentil Salad

This warm salad makes a nice bridge into the cooler weather, calling on the last of summer’s tomatoes while introducing the first suggestion of fall with the squash. We like to roast the pumpkin seeds quickly right as the squash comes out of the oven — toss them first with a bit of olive oil and some salt, then spread them on a baking sheet and give them 5 minutes or so in the already warm oven. Using pre-cooked lentils means that this meal comes together in a flash: you’ll need nothing more than warm buttered naan or a fresh crusty loaf to round the offering out.

Warm Roasted Squash and Puy Lentil Salad

18 oz. butternut squash chunks
1 tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
½ tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. wholegrain mustard
3½ cups cooked Puy lentils*
½ red onion, thinly sliced
3 oz. baby spinach leaves
4 oz. cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1-2 oz. firm aged cheese, like English cheddar or Cheshire
1-2 tbs. toasted pumpkin seeds

Heat the oven to 350°F. Toss the squash chunks with the olive oil, garlic, thyme leaves, and some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in a single layer for 25-30 minutes or until tender.

Mix together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, and 1-2 tbs. water. Toss the lentils, onion, spinach leaves, and tomatoes with the dressing and divide between 4 plates. Top with the squash, then crumble over the cheese and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds.

*We like to use the pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s – the 17.6 oz. package is just the right size for this recipe. Rinse and drain them before adding to the dressing.

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