Let’s kick off Pumpkin Week with a fabulous fall salad! Cumin and paprika give the kick, goat cheese provides the creamy and lentils and pumpkin lend earthiness to this dish.
The first thing to note is that you should not use a Jack-o-Lantern style pumpkin in this salad. You want to look for smaller pie pumpkins, sometimes called sugar pumpkins, that are about the size of an acorn squash. If you can’t find pie pumpkins, butternut squash will also work in this recipe. You want nice chunks of pumpkin or squash that you can toss with the spices, so don’t use canned pumpkin either since that has already been pureed.
Are you familiar with lentils? They are in the legume family and come in many different colors, ranging from red and orange to green and brown. They are round and flat, about the size of a pea. About one-third of the calories in lentils come from protein, which makes them an excellent food choice for people with diabetes. Soybeans and hemp are the only other plant-based foods that have more protein by weight. Lentils are also a good source of dietary fiber and folate. I used organic green lentils in this recipe, although they actually looked brown. Go figure.
This salad is low in Cholesterol and is full of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese.
Adapted from Bon Appetit (October 2009)
3/4 cup lentils
1 (2 lb) pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded and flesh cut into 1-inch squares
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
4 cups salad greens
4 oz goat cheese (chèvre), crumbled
¼ cup thinly slices mint leaves
Place lentils in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for about 10 minutes; drain.
Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Add lentils and cook until tender, but firm, about 30 minutes. Drain the lentils, rinse them under cold water and then drain them again. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, toss pumpkin with 2 Tbsp olive oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20 minutes, turn pumpkin over and roast until tender (another 15 minutes or so). Cool.
In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil and vinegar. In a large bowl, place salad greens. Add half of oil and vinegar mixture to greens and toss well. Add lentils, pumpkin, half of goat cheese and remaining oil and vinegar mixture to bowl. Toss, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide salad among serving plates, then sprinkle remaining goat cheese and mint on top of each serving.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving: 187 calories, 10g fat (4g sat), 11mg cholesterol, 224mg sodium, 18g carb, 6g fiber, 2g sugar, 9g protein