Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Lentil Salad

After a busy summer filled with gymnastics practice, cheerleading practice, vacationing, and LOTS of boating, I'm back! We had a HOT summer, with a LONG stretch of days with temperatures soaring above the 100 degree mark, so cooking was the last thing I felt like doing at the end of a sweltering day. All summer we had a lot of simple meals, salads, and home-made sausages cooked on the grill. We're still experiencing above average temperatures, with the day time temperatures rising to near 80. So, while the calendar says it's fall, Mother Nature hasn't quite agreed. Usually by now I've been bit by the fall cooking bug....casseroles, soups, stews and good, hardy warming meals. Needless to say, I've not been bit by that "warm meal" bug yet.
I did however have a burst of inspiration over the weekend, and created this fall lentil salad. It's best served warm or at room temperature, perfect for the cool, but not yet cold evenings we've been having. This salad will delight you with a combination of sweet and savory.
Fall Lentil Salad
1 1/4 cup dry green lentils
3 cups vegetable broth or water
1 Tbs Earth Balance
3/4 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced shallor
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup diced winter squash, I used delicata
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup maple syrup
1 Tbs dijon mustard
1 Tbs Cold pressed olive oil
Preheat oven to 375. Toss diced winter squash in a Tbs of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast on a baking sheet until tender. In the meantime, cook lentils in broth until broth is absorbed and lentil are tender (may need to add more broth or water). In a large skillet, melt Earth Balance and saute celery, carrot and shallots until tender. Add salt and thyme to sauted veggies. When all components are finished, in a large bowl, combine lentils, squash, sauted veggies, pumpkin seeds and cranberries and stir to combine well.
Prepare dressing by whisking balsamic, maple, dijon and olive oil. Drizzle over lentil saland and toss to coat evenly.
Serve warm or at room temperature.