Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Feta

I originally made this as part of my Thanksgiving series, but my family didn't care for it.  Mainly because none of us like goat cheese, and this recipe called for goat cheese so I used it.  *smack hand to forehead*  I can't tell you what I was thinking when I did that....

So I made it again with feta cheese (still goat cheese but brined to get the strong taste calmed down), and we all loved it much better. This hearty salad is almost a complete meal in itself; you could add some grilled chicken or steak; you could serve it with some more vegetables for a meatless meal.

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Feta

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Feta

Close up

Close up

spicy squash salad with lentils and feta

from smitten kitchen

 

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 3 as a main

3/4 cup black or green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and 1 inch cubed butternut squash (local from about a 2-pound squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 oz feta cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves (optional; I used this, but added it after I took a photo)
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste

4 cups baby arugula (I skipped this because I forgot the recipe called for it--didn't miss much)

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  2. Toss squash or pumpkin cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. 
  3. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.
  4. Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. 
  5. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool. 
  6. Combine lentils, pumpkin, feta cheese, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. 
  7. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired (we felt it needed it). 
  8. Serve immediately by dividing among plates.  This salad is not great cold so if you make it beforehand, let it sit out for about 1 hour before serving.

Do you have any hearty salads that you love to make?

Jennifer is the chef behind a girl eats world.  Head over for more recipes and tips!