keito potato

Roast Winter Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese
December 21, 2011, 9:59 am
Filed under: main dishes, recipes, salads | Tags: , ,

When you’ve overdosed on xmas cookies, you might crave some lighter meals around the holidays.  This warm winter salad is utterly delicious, earthy, and healthful.  The bright dressing and goat cheese bring the dish together, and the lentils are richly-flavorful with sauteed aromatics and herbs.

I made it for the first time a few years ago in Berkeley with my cousin Patricia, and it has become a favorite winter salad.  It comes from Diana Henry’s book Roast Figs Sugar Snow, which is a collection of vibrant recipes for cold weather, gathered from Northern Europe and New England.  Last winter I shared the orange-cardamom star cookies from the same cookbook.   My favorite chocolate-rosemary sorbet comes from her cookbook Crazy Water Pickled Lemons.

Serve this as a colorful side dish, or by itself for a simpler meal.  It’s a breeze to made since you assemble everything while the squash roasts.


3-3.5 lb. (1.5 kg) winter squash, such as butternut or acorn
salt and pepper
olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
9 oz (250 g) goat cheese, broken up

for the lentils:

9.5 oz (275 g) green lentils
1/2 small onion, or 1 super-small onion or shallot
1 small stalk celery
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley

for the dressing:

1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
tiny dollop Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil
good pinch sugar


Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).  Halve the winter squash and scoop out the seeds and fibers.  Peel the squash and cut into 1-inch pieces.  Put the squash wedges in a roasting tray.  Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and dot with butter.  Roast it in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.  Turn the wedges over a few times during baking.  Don’t let it scorch or get too dry.

Meanwhile, prepare the lentils while the squash is in the oven.  Rinse the lentils, then cover them with cold water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cook until tender, 15-30 minutes.  They should be tender and hold their shape.

While the lentils are cooking, chop the onion and celery finely.  Gently saute them in a wide skillet with the butter and olive oil until they are soft.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by whisking all of the dressing ingredients together.  Also chop the parsley at this time.  Set both aside.

When the lentils are cooked, add them to the pan of onions and celery.  Stir them around to soak up the cooking juices.  Add 2/3 of the dressing and the chopped parsley.  Season well with salt and pepper.

Serve either on a wide serving platter or on individual plates.  Mound the lentils, then top with the roasted squash.  Dot with the nuggets of goat cheese, drizzle on the remaining dressing.

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