Lentils With Butternut Squash & Walnuts

 butternut squash


More cooking inspired by my CSA loot - last night I used local butternut squash and cilantro, and man, this recipe is terrific!  Sorta sweet from the squash, sorta zingy and a little spicy from the curry powder, nice toasty crunch thanks to the walnuts and nice, brite topnotes provided by the lime juice and cilantro.  A party in your mouth . . . and your belly, because every darn thing in here is great for your body.  This took about 40 minutes to prepare - that's an outside estimate, which includes running into the living room twice to assist in the selection of an appropriate television show for L.  Your cooking time may vary . . . .

Lentils With Butternut Squash & Walnuts

1 small butternut squash (or 1/2 of a squash - you need about 1 pound)
1 large shallot, minced
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 t. curry powder
1/2 c. walnuts
1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 c. lentils (I used Pardina lentils, but brown are a good substitute)
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro sprigs
Juice of 1/2 lime


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Halve, peel and seed squash and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. In a 9x13-inch baking dish, toss the shallot with the squash, oil, curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste until combined well. Bake squash mixture in middle of oven until almost tender, about 20 minutes.

While the squash is baking, boil the chicken broth in a small saucepan, add the lentils, and cook until the lentils are just tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Drain lentils in a sieve and transfer to a bowl.

Chop the walnuts and place them in a small, dry frying pan.  Toast the walnuts over low-medium heat, stirring constantly. 

To the lentils add the squash mixture, cilantro, lime juice, toasted walnuts and salt and pepper to taste and toss until combined well.

The original recipe says that this serves 2 as a side dish, but that's a big portion of  what I'd consider a very hearty side dish!  I ate 1/2 of this recipe as my main course and was quite full . . . you could even serve this with brown rice or quinoa to stretch it out a bit if you like.

A note on toasting nuts:  did you know that if you toast your nuts before adding them to recipes it'll boost their flavor?  All you need is a few extra minutes and a dry skillet.  Toast the nuts over low heat, and stir them constantly.  Watch them closely because they'll toast all-of-a-sudden and can burn just as quickly!