Half a roasted butternut squash in the fridge needs eating, so I dress it up with three of my other favourite flavours: feta, toasted walnuts and puy lentils. Oh and some caramelised red onion too. This is very much a ‘handful’ meal since that’s how I measured it and I wouldn’t stress too much if you haven’t got everything or if you want to substitute goat’s or blue cheese for feta, white onions for red or pine nuts for walnuts. As long as you have something soft (like the squash), something crunchy (like the nuts) and something sweet (like the onion) it will work. Technically it’s not really a salad, since I discovered today that the definition of salad is a dish of raw vegetables or fruit, but I don’t think that matters either. I didn’t add a dressing, since the oil from the squash and onions was enough.
Butternut squash, puy lentil, feta and walnut salad
For two portions you will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have):
olive oil, a teaspoon or so for the onion plus half a tablespoon for the squash
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
red onion, ½
butternut squash, half (about 500g)
walnuts, 2 handfuls (70g)
puy lentils, 4 handfuls (100g)
1. Roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-assisted/gas 6, peel and deseed the squash (if it’s the seedy end), toss with half a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and ground pepper then roast until soft (about 20-30 minutes).
2. Meanwhile cook the lentils. Boil a kettle-full of water then, once boiling, put the hot water in a saucepan over a medium heat, add a pinch of salt and the lentils and bring to the boil. Cook until just soft (again, about 20 minutes). Once cooked, drain.
3. In a dry frying pan, over a medium heat, toast the walnuts until just starting to colour then put in a salad bowl.
4. Peel and chop the onion half. Put a teaspoon of olive oil into the frying pan over a medium heat, and add the onion. Cook until the onion has softened and caramelised (about ten minutes).
5. Put the cooked squash, drained lentils and caramelised onions into the bowl with the walnuts. Chop the feta into small cubes and add it to the rest of the salad. Season if necessary and serve.