The answer to that question would be me. I have lentils as a meal so often that I’ve run out of new ideas for preparing them.
That pretty well sums up how this recipe came about. The solution to my problem called a curry powder rut.
Lately, no matter how I tried to be creative, I’d always end up throwing in some curry powder. You will be happy to hear that I finally managed to break the habit. These cooked brown lentils are combined with pureed, roasted acorn squash. That alone turned out to be delicious, but even this lentils-only girl knew that it needed something to put it over the top.
Crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of cilantro were it.
The squash is so creamy, the lentils filling, the pumpkin seeds add nutty crunch and the cilantro gives it that necessary burst of freshness.
If you dislike winter squash, don’t worry. I bet if I hadn’t told you it was in there and you tasted them, you wouldn’t even know. So don’t be afraid to give it a try. Use it as your gateway meal to the world of fall and winter’s best offering.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch of ground allspice
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
- 3 1/3 cups unsalted vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 1/4 cup pureed acorn squash*
- 1 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup unsalted, roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat the oil in a 4 to 5 quart pot over medium-high. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, smoked paprika and allspice. Cook for 1 more minute.
- Stir in the lentils and add the stock. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the lentils reach your desired tenderness. Reduce the heat to low.
- Fold in the squash puree and warm for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and serve sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and cilantro.
- *A medium acorn squash yielded about 1 1/4 cup of squash puree. To roast, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Rub with olive oil. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until the flesh is tender. Let cool, scrape out the flesh and transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Canned pumpkin or another pureed winter squash can be substituted.
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