Conjuring lunch from the last of my storage crops.
Perhaps you live in a place where the trees are flowering, the asparagus season is in full swing and it feels like summer’s around the bend. Not me, not here.
I arrived back in eastern Oregon from spring break in near-to-drowning Seattle and spent all day Sunday, the first of April, nesting my way: using up my squash and onions from last year’s garden in preparation for a new growing season.
Roasted cubes of winter squash are a handy ingredient–terrific in any green salad to bump up its satiety quotient or for tossing with penne pasta, olive oil and grated parm for a quick supper. Here I’ve combined the little squash cubes with black beluga lentils (hold their shape), chopped green cabbage (the last of a big head), apples (too soft for eating out of hand) and toasted sesame seeds (cheaper than pine nuts) in a mustardy dressing. An unusual salad for sure, but after a week of eating out, just what I needed.
What are you craving during this seasonal transition?
Roasted Squash, Lentil & Cabbage Salad with Apples and Sesame Seeds
Makes 4 servings
1 small winter squash (any variety), seeded, peeled and diced 1/4-1/2 inch
olive oil and salt for roasting
1 cup black or green lentils, rinsed
1 1/2 cups finely chopped green cabbage
2 medium apples, diced to match the squash
1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
1 shallot, minced
1 heaping tablespoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the squash lightly with olive oil and salt and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until the squash is splattered brown, crisp, 25-35 minutes, depending on size. Set aside to cool.
2. Cover the lentils with water by 3 inches in a small saucepan, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat to simmer and cook until the lentils are tender to the bite, 25-30 minutes. Drain them well and set aside to cool.
3. To make the dressing, whisk the shallot, mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, olive oil and salt in a mixing bowl until thick and well blended.
4. Toss the cabbage and apple with the dressing. Add about 1 cup of the roasted squash (reserve any extra squash for another meal, or snack on it as I do) and lentils and toss again to combine everything well and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Serve the salad warm or at room temperature.