Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lentils with curried butternut squash and walnuts

Winter squashes of all shapes and colors are appearing at the farmers' market. I like trying different kinds, but I usually end up coming back to butternut squash - it has more meat than some of the other squashes, and it's easier to peel.

I especially love butternut squash in savory rather than sweet preparations. I think the sweetness of the squash works really well with contrasting flavors. In this recipe, the butternut squash is roasted with curry powder, and then mixed with lentils, toasted walnuts, lime juice, and cilantro - a really interesting combination of flavors and textures. I think I'd like it with a bit more lime juice than the recipe calls for, but Andrew really liked it as written. We both agreed that the dish was tastier after being in the fridge for a couple days - the flavors developed over time. The original recipe classifies this as a side dish, but I think it is filling enough to be a main, with some rice on the side. We also ate this stuffed into pitas, which was really good.

Lentils with curried butternut squash and walnuts
Adapted from Gourmet Today
Serves 6

1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped shallots (I used onion)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp curry powder, preferably Madras
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 cups water
1 cup small French green lentils, picked over and rinsed (I used regular brown lentils)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp fresh lime juice

Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 deg F. Toss squash with shallots, oil, curry powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and spread onto a large baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Scatter walnuts over squash and bake for an additional 10 minutes or so, until squash is tender and walnuts are toasted.

Meanwhile, bring the water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils and 1/2 tsp salt. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Don't cook them so long that they start to fall apart. Drain lentils and transfer to a large bowl.

Toss lentils with squash mixture, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.


  1. This looks like a tasty and hearty dish -- plus a perfect lunch!

  2. I made this for lunch (yay snow day!) and it was so yummy! For me, about 1/4-1/3 of a butternut squash was the right amount for 1 cup of lentils. I added some roasted carrots and a little brown basmati.


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