This Lentil, Roasted Squash and Walnut Salad is the salad I dreamt about in the middle of the night when I first realized legumes were a good Whole30 option for vegan/vegetarian people. Surprisingly, this is the only legume I have eaten on Whole30 since they are most often paired with grain to make a complete protein. It combines 3 of my favorite ingredients, winter squash, lentils and walnuts.
We are just finishing up our store of sweet winter squash from last summers harvest. Regular doses of this sweet meat veggie has done well to satisfy any cravings I’ve had for sweets. The sweetness is amplified in this recipe with a tiny bit of lemon juice…yes, lemon juice in the dressing.
side note….a good friend, (and my daughter’s mother-in-law) roasts sweet squash with onions, a bit of coconut oil, sea salt and I sometimes add thyme. Roast it in a single layer at 425 for 35 minutes. To. Die. For.
Moving along to this salad. Pour boiling water over well rinsed french lentils. Let soak 1 hour. Drain.
Have all your veggies ready for roasting so you can multi task, cooking lentils on the stove and roasting veggies in the oven at the same time.
While you’re preheating the oven for the veggies, roast the walnuts. Watch them though. I usually set a timer for 12 minutes because I easily get distracted while I’m cooking. Then I end up with burnt walnuts. Not good. They should smell fragrant when done. In a normal 350 degree oven they take 10 minutes to roast.
When the veggies are tossed together with seasonings, spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 30 minutes.
Drain extra liquid from the cooked lentils and spread to cool on a baking sheet. This helps to separate the lentils, benefitting the overall texture of the salad.
After lentils and squash are done cooking, walk the dog, fold some laundry, or play Candyland with your toddler while theingredients cool. Chop walnuts, whisk the dressing, add chopped parsley or cilantro. I recommend gently mixing it all together, once cooled, with your hands.
Some Whole30 stats to update you – we ventured out to eat on a date with a grandson to Chapotle and while I was so careful to consume those Whole30 approved foods, I did not feel well afterwards.
I feel much better getting protein from fish and fowl with a lot of variety from vegetables.
In the temptation department, the chips smelled so good and were so tempting! We are not big drinkers at all, but when I’ve been around wine, it smells so good. No problem restraining myself there since I usually have a hard time finishing one glass of wine.
Starbucks latte’s rate right up there as being the most missed during this month of Whole30.
We’re celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary this weekend, but we’ve chosen to eat in. We have a simple festive Whole30 approved menu that I will share with you in my next post.
1/2 cup french lentils, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper
4 cups buttercup or butternut squash, chopped in 1/2 inch dice
1 medium yellow onion coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup roasted walnuts, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If your walnuts aren’t roasted already, do it while you’re preheating the oven. Set timer for 12 minutes and check to see if they’re done when the buzzer goes off. They should smell fragrant. Let cool and set aside.
Pour boiling water over lentils to cover. Let soak 1 hour. Drain and place in a pot with 1 1/2 cups water, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil, turn heat low, cover and cook for 25 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, roast the squash and onions. In a large bowl toss together squash, onions, ginger, cardamom, cumin, sea salt and olive oil. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes. Halfway through roasting, gently stir so the squash doesn’t break down. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Drain off excess liquid from the cooked lentils and spread in a single layer to let cool on a baking sheet. This also helps to separate the lentils, making them more flakey. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
In a small bowl whisk together the dressing. Place squash and lentils in a large bowl. Add toasted chopped walnuts and dressing. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley or cilantro. Gently mix together and serve.