Squashes are a pain in the butt.
They don’t cut easily. That tough shell is not built for crappy kitchen knives purchased at Ikea for $19.99. Um, no.
But, they are delicious. So I learned a trick from wrestling with way too many spaghetti squashes (which I now bake whole, all the time)—if you put your squash in the oven BEFORE you try cutting into it, you can soften the outside and it makes cutting 894759824x easier. As long as you let it cool/wear oven mitts while cutting it.
Also, this salad rocks even though the dressing has exactly three ingredients. What! And it’s not the balsamic variety. Hello, this is a hearty, protein- and fiber-packed vegetable and lentil salad! This is what you detox on when you want to feel full because those lentils do some serious magic on your stomach. Or, mine anyway. This made me feel like I wasn’t actually trying to be healthy. Those caramelized, slightly wilted carrots. UGHHH. I could eat them all day.
In other news, I’ve been trying out a 90% raw diet this week. Do you want to see my food diary? You probably don’t. (But let me know if you do, because I’m quite fascinated at how un-angsty I am on this “diet” versus the other detox I did.)
I’m feeling loopy today. Can you tell? (I promise it’s not the vegetables. It’s just so nice outside and I just found out I have a three-day weekend and I’m so happy and kind of tired and just yee.) I’ll leave you with this: this might take some more clockage than you’d ideally want to spend on a salad, but it makes a generous amount and spring is coming so you might as well use you up dying winter squashes in this yumalicious salad! It’s totally worth it.
Roasted, caramelized carrots are my favorite part of this recipe, but creamy squash and meaty lentils in a tangy dressing take this salad to another level.
- 3/4-1 cup dried French green lentils, rinsed
- 1/2 pound carrots (not baby carrots)
- 1 small acorn squash, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
In a medium pot, cover lentils with about two inches of water. Salt the water, bring to a boil, stir, then cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until lentils are cooked through. While lentils are cooking, roast the vegetables.
Preheat oven to 375. Chop carrots into roughly equal strips. I cut mine in half length-wise, then in half width-wise, and then again if they were really fat. Spread on a baking sheet (no overcrowding), drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss. Roast carrots for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
Cut squash into strips and roast in the same fashion as the carrots. Because I don’t have great knives, I softened put the squash, whole, into the oven with the carrots for the first 10-15 minutes. When I pulled it out, the skin was tender enough to easily cut through with my knife. I then cut it into pieces and roasted it (I peeled it once it was completely cooked).
Combine the lentils and celery in a bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, oil and mustard. Toss lentil mixture with dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in roasted vegetables.
You can sub many other kinds of vegetables (brussels sprouts, cabbage, other squash, eggplant, etc.) for the carrot/squash combo that I found so heavenly.
Adapted from Whole Living