Butternut squash is one of those odd ingredients that I seem to forget about for a large portion of the year. I suppose that this is the ideal for seasonal cooking, but I can’t claim that I’m an entirely seasonal shopper; rather, I get more obsessed with beetroots and cashews and a whole host of other things and squash just falls out of my head entirely.
My friend brought a beautiful butternut squash home from the market (yes! A winter market!) last week, and when I was scouting through the fridge post-yoga with a ravenous need to eat, there it was: just what I needed.
Is there anything more perfect for winter than roasted butternut squash? It feels fatty and soft and wonderful, and isn’t quite as dense as other root veggies. Having just come from yoga, I really wanted something full of healthy stuffs that would give me lots of energy, and I also didn’t want to leave the house (it was freezing outside). Hence, this warm, winter salad was born – and it’s already become a favourite in my kitchen.
The spices and herbs here will help to keep that cold at bay too!
1/2 butternut squash, diced to 1-inch cubes
1 cup green lentils
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
a good handful of fresh peashoots
a good handful of fresh basil
1 large garlic clove
the juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius
Toss the diced roasted butternut squash in olive oil until coasted, then roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through
While this is happening, place the lentils into a pan and add in 2-3 cups of water, then bring to the boil
Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until just cooked
While the squash and lentils are cooking, blend the basil, walnuts, garlic and lemon juice, adding just enough olive oil and water to reach your desired consistency
Drain and rinse the lentils
Remove the butternut squash from the oven
Toss together the squash, lentils, tomatoes and peashoots until nicely combined, then plate
Drizzle the dressing on the salad and serve immediately!