Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin & Lentil Salad

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This is a great fall salad dish. I chose this recipe because of the Lentils and Squash, which are high in thiocyanate and great for sickle cell patients. I usually substitute regular lettuce or spinach instead of the arugula, just because spinach is my go-to green leafy veggie.

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 3 as a main

3/4 cup black or green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash or sugar pumpkin (1-inch cubes) (from about a 2-pound squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika*
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 cups baby arugula (I skipped this)
1 cup soft crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves (optional; )
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
Roasted seeds (about 1/2 cup) from your butternut squash (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash or pumpkin cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. 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.

Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.

Combine lentils, pumpkin, any oil you can scrape from the baking sheet (I didn’t get enough for this to be worth it) with arugula, if using, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired (we felt it needed it). Divide among plates and pass with remaining goat cheese to sprinkle.

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