Main dish salads are tricky to pull off, especially around this time of year when you can't just dump a bunch of ripe tomatoes into a bowl with lettuce and call it a dinner. With autumn here, a little extra effort is required. But it also means the results can be even more soulful and satisfying. That's especially true for this salad from Bon Appétit, which mixes roasted butternut squash with French green lentils.
I was a little perplexed by the pairing at first, but it works. The lentils added an earthiness to each bite, which balanced the sweetness of the butternut squash. I'll admit though, it was the dressing that really sold me. I'm kind of a smoked paprika fanatic, and it works wonders here, transforming a respectable fall salad into something warming and remarkable.
- 3/4 cup French green lentils
- 2 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 1 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled, divided
- 1/4 cup mint, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Meanwhile, pour lentils into small bowl, and cover with cold water. Soak for ten minutes, then drain.
Bring medium-sized pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add lentils and cook for 30 minutes. Drain lentils in colander, and rinse with cold water. Let drain again.
Meanwhile, add cubed butternut squash, 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika, and salt to large bowl. Mix well with pair of 12-inch tongs. Transfer to baking sheet and arrange in single layer. Place baking sheet in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Flip squash pieces with tongs. Cook until tender,a bout 15 minutes longer. Remove baking sheet from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Transfer butternut squash and any remaining oil to large mixing bowl. Add arugula, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and remaining olive oil. Toss gently. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with remaining goat cheese sprinkled on top.