Spicy Squash Salad

October 28, 2010

Deb beat me to it.  I’ve been wanting to tell you about this amazing salad ever since I made it for the yoga retreat a few weeks ago.  But there were Buckeyes to mention and photos of boys in pumpkin patches that I needed to share.  There was also a weekend of being whisked off to New York City and amazing food to be eaten and then I opted to write about cupcakes before salad.  Silly me.

In case you don’t read Smitten Kitchen (you should) or you just really want to know more about this terrific salad, I’m still going to post about it.  When I first looked at the recipe, I figured it must be a home run.  I love all the components separately – winter squash, Le Puy lentils, goat cheese, arugula – but I had never had them all together.  I figured if I loved them individually, I’d love them collectively.  Then, as I was pulling the salad together, doubts started to creep in.  Do these things really go together?  Is this a salad or a side dish?  Is the small amount of olive oil I used to roast the squash really going to make enough of a dressing?  Is anyone going to eat this?

Answers: Yes, doesn’t matter, yes, and yes until the bowl is empty.  This salad was the first to go.  It surprised me.  On a day where I made lots of good food, I took a small amount thinking I just needed to taste it so that I could write about it.  Then I took another taste.  Then I pushed aside another salad to make more room for this one.  Aside from the Buckeyes, I got more comments about this salad than any other dish I made that day.

Just before I left for New York, a very cool opportunity presented itself.  A lovely woman, fellow yogi and food lover, asked me to prepare some salads for an advisory committee that she heads.  She is interested in healthy food and helping to influence what that means in our country.  Of course this is near and dear to my heart so I said yes.  She had requests.  My Israeli couscous salad and the squash salad.  She requested two other salads as well.  (And 140 Buckeyes but that is another story.)  Again the squash got the most comments of the day.

One Year Ago:  Roasted Pear Galette with Chevre and Pomegranates

Spiced Squash, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 6-8

¾ cup French green lentils
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
½ tsp. kosher salt
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Place lentils in a small bowl.  Cover with cold water and let soak 10 minutes.  Drain.

Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Drain again.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Place squash on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika, and salt.  Roast 20 minutes.  Turn squash over.  Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.  Cool.

Combine lentils, squash, and oil from baking sheet with arugula, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle remaining goat cheese over.

(My make-ahead tips are as follows.  I made the squash and the lentils one day ahead and stored them separately.  I made sure they came to room temperature before mixing everything together I also chopped the mint the day before and stored it wrapped in a paper towel and then a ziploc bag.)


  1. This does sound like a great mix of things! I love how the oil from roasting vegetables can form a dressing, and the goat cheese is just perfect with this.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — October 28, 2010 @ 2:26 am

  2. this is on my “making it tomorrow” list!
    I am glad you tried it first.
    I have 5 boxes of Sabarot lentils, and need to use them!

    Comment by stacey snacks — October 28, 2010 @ 3:06 am

  3. Sounds like your super awesome “event” went well! I’m so glad. There was no doubt in my mind that it would. I actually did read Deb’s post today and though damn. Where has this been all my life. I plan on making this imminently and talking your ear off about it for a while. I have a feeling that if both you and Deb adore it then, yeah. It’s that good.

    Thanks for the super sweet comment on my blog! There will for SURE be a second date. I officially haven’t been to the west coast in over a year and I think that needs to change, don’t you?

    Comment by Joanne — October 28, 2010 @ 4:07 am

  4. You and Deb posting this recipe within 24 hours of each other is enough an endorsement for me. I have been wanting to do some sort of spicy squash and so this dish sounds perfect.

    Comment by Sarah S. — October 28, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  5. First off, best pictures you’ve taken. Second, I can totally see why this would be so popular- it’s different and like you said, all part are great on their own. So neat to have all these catering opportunities, nice work!!

    Comment by Sara — October 28, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  6. Deb has beat me to it on a number of occasions. I had two weeks there a while back where we were, apparently, thinking the exact same thing. I love how you tagged this as “Super Healthy” by the way…something I could use in my life right now. Miss you!

    Comment by Megan Gordon — October 29, 2010 @ 4:25 am

  7. […] Spicy Squash Salad <<This is the tastiest looking fall salad I’ve seen in awhile. I’m in. (Dana Treat) […]

    Pingback by For The Love Of Food | Healthy Eating Tips - Upgrade Your Healthstyle | Summer Tomato — October 29, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

  8. yes, yes, yes!!! This sounds so good, I’d love a big ol’ bowl right this minute.

    Comment by kickpleat — October 30, 2010 @ 12:46 am

  9. I don’t use lentils enough. Thanks for the reminder. I will have to start adding them in my salads for a boost of protein. Love this one!

    Comment by Maria — October 31, 2010 @ 12:26 am

  10. oh wow, this salad is right up my alley! i have an acorn squash i got from my farm share this week, and wondering if it would be a suitable replacement? i havent used acorn squash much– my mom used to just bake it w/ lots of butter and brown sugar. hoping for a more savory application this time, though. hope you are well dana! :)

    Comment by brooke — November 1, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

  11. What timing! I can’t believe we posted the same two recipes within a week. Obviously, I think you have excellent taste. And now I’m off to see if I have enough pumpkin leftover from (shh) last year to try those pumpkin cookies.

    Comment by deb — November 2, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

  12. I have had this bookmarked for awhile too! I am so glad you both covered it as it is a gentle reminder. Can’t wait to try!

    Comment by fresh365 — November 4, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  13. I’m happy you posted about this too. :) Now I know I definitely need to make it! I love salads like this.

    Comment by Ashley — January 10, 2011 @ 12:44 am

  14. This salad looks perfect for my dreaming of fall (living in Florida has drawbacks but in my opinion no fall is one of the worst) days…but I have an herb garden that does not include mint and would, of course, like to use what I’ve grown myself. Would basil, thai basil, oregano, sage, or rosemary work in this dish instead of the mint? Full disclosure- really don’t like mint to begin with :-). Thanks!! Steph

    Comment by Steph — September 7, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  15. I made this salad this evening and it was lovely. Thank you and Happy New Year.

    Comment by Amanda — January 2, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

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