A few months ago I came up with a recipe for a black lentil ragout and slow roasted halibut for the November issue of Triathlete Magazine. During my brain storming (in July for a November recipe) I ended up with several different variations of lentil recipes. I stopped making any recipe ideas after the black lentil ragout and slow roasted halibut recipe because it was a such winner!!! However, one of the ideas I had come up with was a warm black lentil and spinach salad. Considering it is now fall, it was time to give it a go!
I wanted to add roasted butternut squash into the salad for complex carbs and texture. I also just happen to love butternut squash season :). One of the best cheeses I think that compliments butternut squash is goat cheese…. So in it went! The goat cheese also gives the lentil and spinach salad a creamy texture and a bit of tang for flavor. However, if you wanted a vegan option with this salad, just omit the goat cheese.
The trick to getting the spinach just slightly wilted is to put it in it’s own separate bowl, pour the hot lentils on top of the spinach, stir an stir, cover for a few minutes, stir and stir and it should now be properly wilted and still slightly warm.
There are a few options with this I think you can do if you wanted to add a little extra something. The first one would be to poach a couple eggs. The yolk would add a type of dressing to the salad. The other one would be to roast some fish to put on top. I put fish on top of mine 🙂
Warm Black Lentil and Spinach Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
- 1 bag of baby spinach
- 1/2 cup black lentils
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups water or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- kosher salt
- Tarragon - Optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F and start heating a small sauce pot to medium heat with some of the olive oil.
- While the pot is heating, mince the shallots and garlic. Place the vegetables in the pot and saute for a few minutes. Add in the tomato past and stir for about a minute. Add in the black lentils and water or stock. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Once the lentils are simmering, it's time to tackle the butternut squash. If you have bought a whole butternut squash, peel it and cut into small bit size cuts so it will cook faster. Toss with some olive oil, salt and throw in the oven for about 15 minutes.
- Open the bag of spinach and place in a large bowl. The lentils will probably be done a few minutes before the butternut squash. Once the lentils are done, pour onto the spinach, season with a large pinch of salt and stir. Cover for a minute or two and then stir again. Place in the butternut squash and stir. Finally add in the goat cheese, walnuts and a dash of olive oil. Gently stir and then taste. Adjust seasonings and add in some fresh tarragon if you are using it.
4 Appetizer Portions or Side Salad with a Protein
High Fiber, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Egg Free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Pork Free, Alcohol Free, No Sugar Added