It’s that time of year again (autumn/winter) when pumpkins and winter squash are piled high in farmer’s markets and supermarkets. I love seeing all the different varieties of pumpkins, some with smooth bright orange skin, others with knobbly green skin, and some pale yellow or even white.
My favorite variety of winter squash has to be butternut squash. I use it in soups, pasta sauce, pumpkin pie and of course I roast it to use in salads. Remember not to throw out your pumpkin seeds. They are packed with zinc and excellent for helping you fight off infections and germs which are so prevalent throughout the colder months. Here is my easy recipe for How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds.
When roasting butternut squash, I often throw in a couple of heads of garlic cut in half. The garlic cooks at the same pace as the pumpkin, so they are ready at the same time and can be used together in most dishes (probably not pumpkin pie, though!)
What’s your favorite way to cook pumpkin?
PUY LENTIL SALAD WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND GARLIC
(Serves 4 as a side dish)
200g / 8 oz / 1 & half cups of dried Puy lentils (or double the amount if already cooked)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
600g / 1 lb 5 oz butternut squash (peeled, deseeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes)
2 whole heads of garlic, do not remove the papery white skin and cut the garlic heads in half horizontally through the cloves (ie. each cut garlic head should have a top and bottom)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
- For easy instructions on how to cook dried Puy lentils, see my Cooking Tutorial on How To Cook Puy Lentils (with pictures). Allow the Puy lentils to cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F to roast the butternut squash and garlic.
- Take two whole heads of garlic. Keeping the papery white skin on, hold the garlic head on its side and cut horizontally through the entire garlic head so that it has a top and a bottom. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the skin of your butternut squash. The easiest way to peel a butternut squash is by using a potato peeler. Once peeled, cut the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. If you want, you can roast the seeds (ADD LINK!!). Cut the butternut squash into 1-inch pieces.
- In a medium-sized baking dish, add 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tsp of sea salt. Toss the butternut squash pieces in the oil and salt in the baking dish.
- Take your 4 garlic halves and rub the cut side on the bottom of the baking dish to coat with oil and salt.
- Put the baking dish in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss the butternut squash, being careful not to disturb the garlic too much (the cloves might fall out – if they do, don’t worry). Put the baking dish back in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- When the Puy lentils and butternut squash are both at room temperature, toss them together in a bowl. Using a knife, remove the garlic cloves from the cut garlic heads and toss them in with the lentils and squash.
- I don’t find the need to add anything more to season this salad, but if you want you can add a little olive oil or vinegar.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate for upto 2 days.