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 spiced pumpkin salad.
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 a pie pumpkin, butternut squash will also work in this spiced pumpkin salad. In fact, save yourself some time and buy pre-cut squash. 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 puréed.
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.
Other Pumpkin Recipes
Like pumpkin? You might enjoy these other recipes:
Spiced Pumpkin Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese
- 3/4 cup lentils
- 1 2 pound pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded and flesh cut into 1-inch squares
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 4 cups salad greens
- 4 ounces 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. (If your lentils are old, they may take longer to cook.) 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 tablespoons 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 tablespoon 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.
Time-saving tip: Buy pre-cut butternut squash. Roast it as you would the pumpkin.
This salad is low in Cholesterol and is full of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese.