Roast Delicata Squash and Lentil Salad

Well, it actually turned out something like a thick stew.  Something about reading instructions–yeah, it didn’t really set in that I was supposed to drain the lentils.  But hey, I think it would be a nice cold soup.  Anyway, below is a recipe that I assume will result in salad, not soupy mush.

Strange as it is, this last week hasn’t been one of those weeks so much as I assumed it would be.  After last weekend’s weird onslaught of homework, I was expecting some very late nights and potential drowning beneath the homework wave.  It didn’t happen, making me grateful and keeping me sane.  In exhibition of my sanity, I discussed Spider Man with my youngest brother while waiting for the lentils to cook.  He prefers the third for the revenge factor and multiple villains.  I prefer the second for the depth of character exhibited by Doctor Octopus.  You might say it was a slow night.

And especially slow because of the darn lentils, which were’t supposed to take an hour and twenty minutes to cook!  It’s a good thing that I ate a large portion of the squash, carrots, and onions with the wonderful mustard dressing before adding it to the lentil sludge.  And, I mean, it really was quite good once cooled to room temperature (the atoms not bouncing around as much and making the taste quite as overwhelming).  Please go ahead and make this (with the revised recipe) and tell me how it goes.  There’s a lot of speculation; you may want to use your own judgement.  Oh, and by the way, if you ever have a recipe that you think I should cook, send it to me via the contact page.  Hopefully I’ll be able to try it out!

One of just two photos of lentils


Roast Delicata and Lentil Salad
Inspired by a Cook’s Illustrated lentil salad, September/October 2011
Serves 8-10

2-3 medium delicata squash, washed, sliced lengthwise, seeds removed, and sliced into 1/2-inch wide half-moons
3 carrots, sliced thinly
1 onion, chopped
10 cloves garlic, half crushed and half minced
2 cups lentils
12 cups water
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
5 Tablespoons olive oil (used at various stages)
3 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Mix lentils in a large bowl with 8 cups of warm water (110 degrees) and 2 teaspoons salt.  Set aside for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss squash with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and place on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Cover fully with aluminum foil and cook on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove foil and cook 15 minutes longer.

While the squash is baking, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan.  Add onions then cook until translucent.  Add the carrots and cook until just barely tender, then add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.  Remove from heat and mix with the squash.

To the vegetables add the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey.  Allow to sit while the lentils cook.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Drain the lentils fully that have been sitting in the brine, and pour into a dutch oven.  Add the 4 cups broth, remaining 4 cups water, thyme, full garlic cloves, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Cover the dutch oven and place on the lower middle rack of the oven.  Here’s where I had a problem.  The technique Cook’s Illustrated used (which made half the amount and cooked in a saucepan) took between 40 and 60 minutes.  I cooked my doubled amount for 1 hour and 20 minutes (because I mistakenly presumed all the liquid would cook off, and when it didn’t, cooked it longer), resulting in sludge.  I’m inclined to tell you to check them starting at 25 minutes, because you want lentils that are only just tender.  Anyhow, just test them as you go.  Finally, drain the lentils as best you can and add the vegetables to them.  Serve at room temperature or cold.


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About Madeleine C.

Hi I'm Madeleine and I am an avid cook and baker! Between school, homework swimming, and everything else in my life, I really enjoy cooking! I am 15 (now 16) years old, and have two brothers, both of whom have celiac disease along with my father. For this reason, I often make gluten-free things that will satisfy them as well as those who can readily consume gluten. I enjoy making the complex and the simple, and enjoy a challenge while cooking. That's just about it!