Here's how you turn a couple of cans of lentils in a Company-Worthy Salad: Add cinnamon-perfumed, pan-roasted pumpkin, along with candied walnuts, a handful of greens and drizzle with a spiced Honey Dressing. SO MOUTH-WATERINGLY GOOD! Filling, nutritious, and something different. It makes an excellent vegetable meal option or work lunch idea, else as a substantial side.
Course: Salad meal, Side Dish, Side Salad
Cuisine: Middle Eastern-ish
Keyword: lentil salad, Pumpkin and lentil salad
Servings: 4- 5 as meal
400g / 14 ozpumpkin or butternut squash(pre-peeled weight), peeled then sliced in 1cm / ½" thick slices then bite size wedges
2tbspextra virgin olive oil
800g/ 28ozcanned lentils, well drained & patted dry (Note 1)
2cups(packed) rocket/arugula leaves(preferably baby, otherwise hand-tear large ones)
1/2red onion, finely sliced
3tspfresh thyme leaves
Honey Walnuts (optional, can just use plain walnuts, Note 2):
1 1/2tbsphoney(must be runny, so warm if super-thick), or maple syrup
2tbspred wine vinegar
4tbspextra virgin olive oil
1garlic clove(small), finely grated
1/4 tspginger powder
Salt and pepper
Pan-roasted spiced pumpkin:
Toss pumpkin with 1 tbsp olive oil, cinnamon, all spice and salt.
Pan roast: Heat a large non stick skillet with 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add about half the pumpkin, spreading out into one layer. Cook for 3 minutes until golden. Turn and cook the other side for 3 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove and let cool until just warm.Repeat with other half of the pumpkin, adding a little more oil to the pan if required.
Toss: Place walnuts in a bowl, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon and salt. Mix, spread on paper-lined baking tray.
Bake: Bake at 180°C/350°F (160°C fan) for 15 minutes, tossing once halfway. Leave to cool, then use fingers to roughly break walnuts up into slightly smaller pieces.
Dressing: Place ingredients in a jar and shake well.
Toss: Place lentils, rocket, red onion, thyme and pumpkin in a large bowl. Pour over most of the Dressing, then gently toss.
Plate up: Pile up on serving platter. Sprinkle with candied walnuts. Drizzle over remaining Dressing, then serve!
1. Lentils – I've just used canned here, for convenience. Make sure you drain well and dry them as best you can, otherwise it can make the salad watery. If needed, spread out on tea towels and pat dry.To cook your own, you will need 1 cup dried green or brown lentils. Cook per this recipe (including flavourings).2. Walnuts – Candied walnuts adds an extra wow factor here, but it's also lovely with just plain walnuts (for a quicker option!). Pecans will work just as well. For a non-nut option, try pepitas. Just something to add some nutty crunch! Textures are always good in a salad.3. Substitutions - lots of possibilities here, whilst still achieving a similar balance of flavours!
Pumpkin - switch with sweet potato, winter squash
Greens - spinach, marinated shredded kale (use this method), silverbeet (chard/swiss chard), anything that can be sliced so it kind of "melds" well with lentils nicely
Walnuts - per Note 2 above
Red wine vinegar - any other type of vinegar that's not as harsh as plain white vinegar. eg. sherry, white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, even cider vinegar.
4. Storage – Keeps well for 3 days. Best to keep Dressing separate if you can, but even if dressed, it keeps better than most salads.5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 4 servings.